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August 17th, 2009
11:56 AM ET

Webb: New push to secure Suu Kyi's release

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) - There is a new push to free Myanmar's pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, Sen. Jim Webb told CNN's "American Morning" Monday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/17/myanmar.webb/art.myanmar.webb.afp.gi.jpg caption="Jim Webb speaks at a press conference in Laos Thursday as part of a two-week Southeast Asia trip."]

Webb spoke after a weekend visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, in which he secured the release of an American man who was sentenced to seven years of hard labor for visiting Suu Kyi.

ASEAN, a powerful economic and political bloc of Southeast Asian nations, may petition Myanmar to release Suu Kyi on the grounds of amnesty, according to Webb.

"(That) would be a major step forward in resolving this situation," the Virginia Democrat said.

ASEAN - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - has been reluctant in the past to address Suu Kyi's detention in Myanmar, one of its 10 member nations.

But it has been under increased pressure to suspend Myanmar after the country's military junta convicted Suu Kyi last week for violating the terms of her house arrest.

That conviction stemmed from a May 3 incident in which American John Yettaw swam to her house, uninvited, and stayed for two days. Webb secured Yettaw's release, and he is currently being treated at a hospital in Bangkok. Yettaw suffers from diabetes.

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Filed under: World
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. nancy

    Why is it that if an American wanders accross borders undocumented ~~ they can ger 12 years hard labor. But if illegals come up across the USA border ~~ they get FREE drivers licence, FREE healthcare & FREE schooling? HHMmmm, something's not right here!

    August 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  2. ronvan

    EVERYONE ABOARD!! Now it seems that any "stupid" americans, that cannot read a map, want an adrenaline rush, or have mental problems, that "wander" into another countries borders, are to be "rescued" by other Americans. Where is Rush? Maybe if we are lucky they would lock him up!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:39 pm |