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Yettaw en route to US

Aug 16, 2009 (DVB), The US citizen who swam to Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in May has been deported from Burma and is heading back to the United States following a meeting between a US senator and Burma's ruling general.

John Yettaw, who on Tuesday was sentenced to seven years with hard labour, is now in Thailand after being granted early release from prison.

The move came about after a visit by US senator Jim Webb to Burma this week, where he met with Senior General Than Shwe and Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to 18 months under house arrest following the Yettaw incident.

Yettaw, 53, was reportedly taken to a hospital as soon as he arrived in Bangkok today. He suffers from diabetes, and was last week hospitalized in Rangoon after suffering a series of epileptic fits.

Webb's trip to Burma was the highest-profile visit to the country by a US official in 10 years, and the first senior US politician to meet with the highly reclusive Than Shwe.

The finer details of the meeting are unclear, although Webb also reportedly urged the general to release Suu Kyi, who now stands no chance of participating in the elections next March.

Critics of the trial said it was a ploy to keep her out of the political arena prior to next year, although the sentence fell well short of the expected five years.

Reporting by Francis Wade


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