August 15th, 2009
10:09 AM ET
5 years ago

U.S. senator obtains release of American in Myanmar

Sen. Jim Webb speaks at a press conference in Laos Thursday as part of a two-week Southeast Asia trip.
Sen. Jim Webb speaks at a press conference in Laos Thursday as part of a two-week Southeast Asia trip.

(CNN) - U.S. Sen. Jim Webb obtained the release Saturday of American John Yettaw, who had been sentenced to seven years of hard labor in Myanmar for visiting pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, his office said.

Webb, who chairs the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will accompany Yettaw to Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday on a military aircraft, his office said.

It is the second success in a day for the Democrat from Virginia, who earlier held separate meetings with Suu Kyi and Myanmar's top official, junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

"It is my hope that we can take advantage of these gestures as a way to begin laying a foundation of goodwill and confidence-building in the future," Webb said in a statement.

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Filed under: Jim Webb
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Just Me

    I am happy for his release. But why are some Americans going into known hostile territories? How many more will follow suit? How many more government officials will have to travel to secure their release. Americans should stay out of trouble where they can. Stop taking these dangerous adventures and stay home!

    August 15, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Dave

    Good Job Sen Webb we need more senators like you.

    August 15, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. coolchange

    Mr. Webb is a superstar.

    August 15, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Roman Jeffers

    So, the American who caused wilfully or thoughtlessly caused Suu Kyi to be sentenced to additional house arrest and isolation, just as she was due to be released, is free to return to the USA. And Suu Kyi's undeserved sentence is left in place, Webb did not do her too many favors, but an American did the Burmese junta a big favor by giving them an excuse to deprive Suu Kyi of her freedom for an even longer period.

    August 15, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Robert

    Dems are awesome! Repubs are a bunch of whiney whoo, do nothings.

    August 15, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    We now know that Bubba gave away strategic nuclear negotiating positions to NKorea (i.e. direct talks) and a fabulous photo op and street cred to dictator Kim Jong Il, despite the earlier Dem lies that nothing was mentioned by Bubba regarding nukes. What has Webb given to the Myanmar junta?? When will we know?

    Note that these are all people (loony libs) who feel as though they should be able to illegally cross borders with impunity. How funny that other countries protect their borders and then take serious action when illegals enter. We should learn from them!

    August 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Chipster

    Somali pirates dispatched, 2 reporters home safely from North Korea, another American citizen safely returned . . . Leadership is not the same as bravado. The days of meaningless tough talk are gone, replaced with diplomacy, statesmanship, and intelligent policies.

    August 15, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. I'll make 'em famous

    Double Kudos for the Dems, all Dems.!!

    That man Yettaw caused enough troubles to Suu kyi and should be heading to the nearest church/temple and give praises, He can walk out, while she still is stuck and her country with her .

    August 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Hawaii gal

    Nice job Senator. Now lets see how the Republican's spin this one....they will try to make the Senator out the be the bad guy here, just wait.

    August 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Dal Californian

    It would have been a great job if he had got a freedom for Suu Kyi.
    Getting the Idiot American his freedom is a disgrace.
    This freedom for the American should not be considered a REAL issue. The REAL issue was the jailing of Suu Kyi, that was not solved. We the Americans have got her few more years of jail for this IDIOT of an AMERICANs deed.

    August 15, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Peoples Voice

    What is it with these Democrats getting Americans freed from all these hostile countries? Who do they think they are? Someone who knows how to negotiate?

    How uppity can you get. How dare they prove themselves better than Bush and his followers in foreign affairs .We should have bombed them and N. Korea. What's the matter with you people, you stupid or something?

    August 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Faye Green

    Republicans are just who oppose with no ideas of their own. They have no solution,unless it is to fill their pockets and their friends pockets with money which everyone suffers. In this country the health care system is broken and need to be fixed immediately. My husband and I at point in time was paying over $1700.00 month for insurance premium . I had to use credit cards to pay the premiums until my husband got to his 65th birthday. I had to do without health insurance until Governor Crist came out with a health plan for Florida. I have not yet used this plan because I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY THE DEDUCTIBLE. I need several tests and cannot go to the doctor. This is the country we live in. The members of congress, all politicians and government workers can have the best doctors and great health care. Not the regular people, yet the Republicans want to oppose universal health care. Republican lead for the people not just your selves.

    August 15, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. RR

    BILL clinton frees Americans.

    Jim Webb frees Ameircans.

    What's Hillary Clinton doing?

    August 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Gerry

    Should have left him in jail look at what he did to Suu Kyi.

    August 15, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Edward lawler

    Good job Sen. Webb. If any of you out there think Sen Webb is a liberal and an Obama follower, just wait until Obama starts screwing us on constitutional issues (I.E.) the 2nd Amendendment

    August 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Madam Secretary

    And our Secretary of State is where? Oh that's right she's advancing women's rights in the Congo. But wait...didn't she have another jet lag moment there and totaly loose her cool...now about those 2000 elections. She was only stating candidates must "accept" the outcome...looks to me like she is still seathing in the past and her recent loss to Obama. Clinton = Loser

    August 15, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Carl Justus

    We are seeing first hand lately how negoations can bring positive results. This now at least twice we have seen results by talking to nations instead of threatening them.

    We lived with confrontation and name calling for eight years and see what it got us an additional 6 trillions dollars of debt, 4600 military killed 35 thousand wounded and a divided nation.

    When we send intellectually handicapped people to Washington, we get bad will, large debts, our people killed and most every nation hating us.

    August 15, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    McCain probably would have thought it better to "bomb, bomb, bomb, Mayanamar" ....you think?

    August 15, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. danel

    I know it's too much for the REpugs to fathom the idea that DEM's foreign policy is working with just a plane fare. No chest thumping bravado just plain soft diplomacy. In the end what matter more is results. So far DEM 3 GOP 0. Not bad for 8 months in office.

    August 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. jon

    Nice job senator. My hat's off to you for having to endure the nut jobs in the Myanmar government in order to free a U.S. citizen. We need to start ramming democracy down these countries throats.

    August 15, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Get Real

    Another waste of a story, why isn't Oh so Great Dem Sen. Webb helping get U.S. people back to work. I could care less about what goes on overseas.

    August 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Gre in Ohio

    Where's the Hilliary isn't she secretary of state or something like that.

    August 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Tom

    I'm love love LOVING how the dems are dealing with these diplomatic issues. Keep up the fantastic work guys!

    August 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. lysh

    THIS IS THE CHANGE WE VOTED FOR. Our image is beginning to be restored in the world, and America is once again becoming one of the most respected nations. This would have been absolutely impossible if Bush or Bolten were still in power today. These are the benefits of the values of integrity, dignity and respect. Something that our country lost for the past 8 years.

    August 15, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Nevada dude

    Repubs remain unimpressed because we didnt blow anything up in the process. Senator Webb deserves much praise for employing diplomacy to get back one of our own. However, i think the US should draw a line somewhere and make a policy statement that declares Americans should not near countries that are hostile to the US except at their own peril. I am concerned that the two recent rescues is only going to encourage Americans into idiotic behavior.

    August 15, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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