YANGON – The American who swam to the home of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was the key player in the case against her and may not have been working alone, the country's police chief said Friday.
Brigadier General Khin Yi said John Yettaw, whose May 4 visit to Suu Kyi's home could see her jailed for five years, was a man of high intelligence who may have received outside support.
It is quite clear, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mr. John William Yettaw is the key player in this incident, Khin Yi told a news conference.
There might have been some people who pulled the strings behind the scenes, gave instructions and even provided him with financial and material assistance, he said.
Necessary investigations are still going on to expose who and which organizations they are.
Suu Kyi is charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest by allowing Yettaw to stay at her home for two days. She has blamed security guards for the breach.
The trial of the Nobel laureate, which is due to resume on Friday, has sparked outrage around the world and critics say the case is an attempt by Myanmar's military rulers to keep her out of planned multi-party elections next year.
SENT BY GOD
Yettaw, 53, who is charged under the same law as Suu Kyi, has told the court that God sent him to warn her she was going to be assassinated by terrorists.
Khin Yi said Yettaw had shown no signs of mental illness and the way in which he was able to breach security and swim to Suu Kyi's home showed he was a highly competent individual.
With the courts known to bend the rules to suit the military, which has ruled the former Burma for nearly 50 years, a guilty verdict for the charismatic National League for Democracy (NLD) Party leader is widely expected.
Suu Kyi is being charged under Section 22 of a security law protecting the state against subversive elements, but her lawyers say the case should be dropped because the legislation is now obsolete.
Khin Yi said an investigation into Yettaw's past and his activities in neighboring Thailand showed he was poor and unable to afford accommodation or pay for air tickets from the United States without outside financial help.
There is a lot of food for thought behind the fact that such an unemployed person who does not have any regular income came to Thailand and Myanmar and spent months there at a high cost, he said.
Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win, dismissed the police chief's comments and said his client had no interest in Yettaw's background.
She had told us that it does not matter for her who was behind Mr. Yettaw and what motive he had, Nyan Win told reporters.
(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by David Fox)