Monday, August 10, 2009

Yettaw recovering from illness: Lawyer

by Mungpi
Monday, 10 August 2009 19:57

New Delhi (Mizzima) - The American, John William Yettaw, admitted to hospital last weekend, is said to be recovering and is likely to be able to attend Tuesday’s court session, where a verdict is expected to be delivered, his lawyer said.

Khin Maung Oo, lawyer of Yettaw, said, “I was told by the US consular today that he is doing better. And I believe he would be able to attend the court session tomorrow.”

Yettaw is facing trial for swimming across the Inya Lake and entering the home of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in early May. Authorities have also charged Aung San Suu Kyi and her two party-mates, who live in with her, for violating the terms of house arrest and ‘harbouring’ Yettaw.

The special court in Insein prison has fixed August 11 to hand down a verdict on the four of them.

Yettaw, a resident of Falcon in Missouri, United States, was taken to Rangoon general hospital last week after having seizure in the prison. Reportedly, he had been fasting before he fell ill.

“Yettaw’s condition seems to be improving but he is still in the hospital and is yet to be discharged,” a spokesperson at the US embassy in Rangoon told Mizzima on Monday.

The spokesperson, however, declined to give further information about Yettaw.

“The US consular gave me a call this afternoon saying that Yettaw’s health is improving and he would be able to present himself on Tuesday in the court,” Yettaw’s lawyer Khin Maung Oo told Mizzima.

The over two-month long trial, which began in May, was set to pronounce a verdict on August 4, but the court said it had difficulties in interpreting the law and needed time in deciding, and postponed it to August 11.

While there were speculations suggesting that the court on Tuesday, August 11, might further postpone the verdict, to avoid attracting domestic and international pressures, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer Nyan Win said, he had received confirmation on Monday asking to be present at the court on Tuesday.

Yettaw’s lawyer Khin Maung Oo said, “Under the existing law, the court can still give a verdict in the absence of the defendant if the defendant is to be acquitted or to be only penalized with a monetary fine.”

“But if the verdict is to sentence the defendant to a prison term, it cannot be delivered in absentia,” he added.

Under the charges, the four defendant could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.