Australian government ‘deeply concerned’ after Myanmar military junta revokes Sean Turnell’s prison amnesty

The Australian government says it is “deeply concerned” after the Myanmar military junta revoked Sean Turnell’s prison pardon and summoned him to court.

Professor Turnell, an academic at Macquarie University and an economic advisor to Myanmar’s ousted de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was arbitrarily detained for 650 days in the South-East Asian nation following a brutal military coup.

He was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in a closed-door military court for violating the Official Secrets Act, in a trial human rights observers described as a sham.

In November last year, he was granted an amnesty and released, returning to his family and friends in Australia who had been tireless in campaigning for him.

Professor Turnell was vocal about his experience in prison and the regime’s cruel treatment of its own people.

In a decree from December, which was circulated on social media this month, the military junta alleged he had shared “misinformation” about Myanmar in interviews and on social media, claiming this was a violation of his pardon conditions.

They annulled his amnesty decree and ordered him to appear before a Myanmar court.

A woman of Vietnamese heritage in red and a Caucasian man in a suit standing and smiling in parliament.
Sean Turnell and Ha Vu were given a standing ovation in parliament in December. A few days later, the Myanmar military revoked his prison pardon.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

The ABC understands the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called in Myanmar’s Chargé d’Affaires last month to convey Australia’s deep concern over the matter.


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