batampos – The Myanmar Military Junta Court tried Aung San Suu Kyi’s adviser, who is Australian citizen, Sean Turnell. Sean was charged with violating the state secrets law, as reported by Reuters on Friday (10/6/2022) local time.
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A whole circle of Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, Myanmar’s leader who was ousted in a military coup by the junta is also on trial. Sean Turnell, an Australian economist is no exception.
A source familiar with the trial said Turnell could face a maximum of 14 years in prison as a result of the charges. The legal action is based on Myanmar’s colonial-era law, which criminalizes the possession, collection, recording, publication or sharing of state information that is “directly, or indirectly, useful to the enemy”.
Details of Turnell’s alleged breach have not been published. However, Myanmar state television quoted the government as saying Turnell had access to “secret state financial information” and tried to flee Myanmar.
In addition to violating the state secrets law, Turnell was also charged with abusing a residence permit under the Immigration Act, which carries a penalty of six months to five years in prison.
Turnell has been in detention since February 6, 2021, days after the coup against Suu Kyi’s elected government. He is a professor of economics at Sydney’s Macquarie University whom Suu Kyi recruited as an adviser during her tenure in Myanmar. Myanmar women have been charged with at least 20 offences, most of them corruption. Turnell is expected to face trial in two cases alongside Suu Kyi and other members of the economic team.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, said in a statement Canberra rejected the military junta’s court decision. “We will continue to advocate for Professor Turnell’s interests and well-being and will not rest until he returns safely with his family to Australia.” firmly Wong. (*)
Reporter: Chahaya Simanjuntak