Junta sentences Australian economist Sean Turnell to 3 years in prison

Sean Turnell and Aung San Suu Kyi in a photo he posted to social media.
Sean Turnell and Aung San Suu Kyi in a photo he posted to social media.

An Australian academic and former economic adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years in prison this morning at the conclusion of a secret military tribunal.

Sean Turnell was tried along with Finance Ministry officials including Minister Soe Win, Deputy Minister Set Aung, and former Minister Kyaw Win; for violating the Government Secrecy Act in connection with business documents allegedly found on Turnell’s computer. 

Q&A with Sean Turnell: What Myanmar’s ban on dollar payments means for you

“The politically motivated conviction of Australian Sean Turnell is a cruel injustice,” wrote Elaine Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch in Asia. “He was convicted after a trial in closed court without proper access to legal counsel merely. It’s critical that Australia take all necessary steps to pressure Myanmar’s junta to release him.” 

Turnell was arrested in Yangon following the Feb. 1 coup, and the case went to a special court in Naypyidaw in November.

Turnell was an associate economics professor at Sydney’s Macquarie University but had gone on sabbatical to work as senior economic adviser in Myanmar.

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