Suu Kyi faces charges over 'uninvited' US visitor

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The Independent Online

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, will be charged in connection with an alleged visit by an American man to her Rangoon home. Her detention was set to end later this month.

The 63-year-old Nobel Prize-winning opponent of the ruling military junta will be moved to Rangoon's Insein Prison today, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy said.

Reports emerged last week that John William Yettaw, from Missouri, had been arrested for swimming across a lake to Suu Kyi's compound and spending two days there. The US Embassy has requested access to the detained man, which has not been granted, embassy spokesman Richard Mei said. He confirmed that Mr Yettaw had made a previous visit to Burma, and said his family had been told of his arrest.

Pro-democracy activists and diplomats in Rangoon have voiced suspicions that the incident may have been concocted by the government.

On Tuesday, security in the back of Suu Kyi's lakeside home was tightened. Workers rolled barbed wire along the water's edge, where a newly erected fence was built of tall wooden poles, according to witnesses.

The day after Mr Yettaw's arrest, Ms Suu Kyi's personal physician Tin Myo Win was arrested. The ailing health of the democracy activist is a concern, and the EU yesterday urged the junta to allow Ms Suu Kyi "immediate and proper health care". "The European Union expresses its strong concern following reports on the health of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," the Czech EU presidency said in a statement. "The EU calls on the authorities of Burma to guarantee for Ms Suu Kyi immediate and proper medical care, as well as access for her personal attorney."

The NLD won a landslide victory in elections in 1990 but the military refused to let the party assume office. The country has been under military rule since 1962.