US embassy still denied access to 'swimmer'

May 13, 2009 (DVB), The US Embassy in Rangoon is yet to meet the man arrested last week after allegedly entering imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound, although they remain optimistic that permission will be granted.

The news comes a day after allegations surfaced that the man in question, US citizen John William Yettaw, may have made another visit to the leader of opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) last year.

The source of the allegations was a Burmese website, tharkinwe.com, which seemingly takes a hostile stance toward the NLD's leader. No further official information has been reported.

A spokesperson at the American Embassy said the only details they had so far received was confirmation of his name and passport number, but hinted that cooperation from the government had been unsatisfactory.

"We made the request through the Foreign Ministry to see him for consular access but haven't gotten a favorable reply yet," said Richard Mei, Public Affairs officer at the embassy.

"But we're optimistic we will."

Yettaw was arrested last Wednesday after apparently swimming across Lake Inya in Rangoon, on the shores of which stand Suu Kyi's compound where she has been held under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years.

The state-run Myanmar Ahlin newspaper claimed the man had stayed at the compound for two nights.

Police arresting him allegedly found his passport, some American and Burmese currency, and a video camera.

Reporting by Rosalie Smith

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