Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yettaw Hospitalized During Fast

John William Yettaw, the American on trial with Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday was hospitalized for a second time, apparently the result of fasting in prison, a hospital staff member told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

Yettaw, 54, was taken from Insein Prison to Rangoon General Hospital at 2 am. His condition was not serious, and he is recovering after treatment, sources said.

Khin Maung Oo, his lawyer, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, “According to his religious belief, he has been fasting, taking only water. I wish him well and pray for him. The most important thing for a fair trial is getting enough defense witnesses.”

“The authorities said he suffered from feeling dizzy,” said a source close to the hospital who asked to remain anonymous.

Yettaw was taken to the hospital by police after he had what was described as “a fit.” He has been kept under guard and away from other patients. More than 50 persons are assigned to his security, said the hospital source.

The United State Information Resource Center in Rangoon said on Tuesday that it had no information about Yettaw’s condition.

Yettaw was charged with violating security and immigration laws after he allegedly swam across Inya Lake and entered the home of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in May. She was charged with violating the terms of her house arrest.

During July, Yettaw was treated in the Insein Prison hospital after he reportedly had declined food for 49 days.

If convicted, he could be sentenced from six months to five years in prison. He faces charges of abetting Suu Kyi's breach of security laws, immigration violations and a municipal charge of illegal swimming.

Yettaw, a former military veteran from Falcon, Missouri, is on trial along with two female aides of Suu Kyi's.

A devout Mormon, Yettaw told authorities that he embarked on a mission to warn Suu Kyi of a vision he had that said she would be assassinated.

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