Myanmar junta court sentences Australian economist, Suu Kyi to 3 years


Myanmar’s junta sentenced an Australian economist to three years in prison Thursday while also handing down another conviction to ousted leader Aung Suu Kyi.

Both have been detained since a coup in February last year when the military ousted Suu Kyi’s government, for which Sean Turnell was an adviser.

“Mr Sean Turnell, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and another three were sentenced to three years imprisonment each under the Official Secrets Act,” the source told AFP, adding that Suu Kyi would appeal her verdict.

Turnell’s sentence provoked a swift reaction from Canberra, with the foreign ministry rejecting his sentence and urging his “immediate release”.

Suu Kyi has already been convicted of corruption and a clutch of other charges by a closed court. Turnell is facing another case under the country’s immigration act, which, according to the source, is ongoing.

A junta spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The 76-year-old Turnell was in the middle of a phone interview with the BBC when he was detained after the 2021 coup.

“I’ve just been detained at the moment, and perhaps charged with something, I don’t know what that would be, could be anything at all of course,” Turnell told the broadcaster at the time.

In August, he pleaded not guilty to breaching the colonial-era secrets act during his trial in a junta court — inaccessible to journalists — in the capital Naypyidaw.

He was facing a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

The exact details of Turnell’s alleged offence have not been made public, though state television has said he had access to “secret state financial information” and had tried to flee the country.

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