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

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Myanmar’s junta sentenced an Australian economist to three years in prison Thursday while also handing down another conviction to ousted leader Aung Saa Suu Kyi, a source told AFP on Thursday.

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.

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

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

“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.

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

– ‘Immediate release’ –

She said the economist was tried in a “closed court” and Australian officials had made “every effort to attend the verdict but were denied access”.

Human rights organisations also condemned the sentences.

She said that “concerted action” from the international community was needed “to turn the human rights situation around in the country”.

“The proceedings have been an outright sham and Myanmar’s military must immediately release Turnell so he can return to his family in Australia,” he said.

“I do hope that like Danny Fenster, he’ll be deported in the coming days,” he told AFP, referring to a US journalist who received an 11-year prison sentence and was pardoned and deported last year. 

More than 2,200 people have been killed and 15,000 arrested in the military’s crackdown on dissent since the coup, according to a local monitoring group.

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


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