On Thursday, an official secrets act was violated by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s economic advisor, Sean Turnell, and both of them were found guilty of their crimes and sentenced to three years in jail. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is now serving her sentence. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was also handed a sentence of three years in jail. This is the most recent conviction in a string of convictions that has resulted in her spending a total of 23 years behind bars.
Five days after the military took control in Myanmar in a coup that took place last year and sparked months of rallies and widespread killing, Mr. Turnell was taken into custody in that country. Since he entered a not guilty plea to the accusation in February 2021, he has been held in custody without being permitted to communicate with his attorney or with officials of the Australian embassy.
According to reports, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the army and the general behind the coup, stated that Mr. Turnell’s continued detention was in retaliation for Australia’s decision to downgrade its embassy’s representation in Myanmar. This statement was reportedly made by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
This year, in an effort to avoid giving legitimacy to the junta, Australia decided to replace its ambassador with a delegate with a lesser status. The general is quoted as saying in an interview with the publication New Light of Myanmar, which is controlled by the government of Myanmar, that “Turnell’s situation would not have been so bad” if the Australian government had moved more favourably.
Mr. Turnell, 57, was a professor of economics and a Myanmar expert at Macquarie University in Sydney. He started working as an economic advisor for Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi after she was elected in 2015 and began assembling her administration. Mr. Turnell was a Myanmar specialist. His emphasis, as he put it, was on developing a stable economy and a competent financial system in order to entice international investment and provide employment opportunities.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Detainees, an independent monitoring group, he is now among the more than 15,000 political prisoners seized since the coup. U Kyaw Win, U Soe Win, and U Set Aung are three former members of the Ministry of Finance who are also facing charges in this case. Vicky Bowman, 56, a former British ambassador, and Turo Kubota, 26, a Japanese documentary filmmaker who was detained after documenting a demonstration, are the other two foreigners now incarcerated in Myanmar on allegations that are unconnected to each other.
Between the years 2002 and 2006, Ms. Bowman served as the British ambassador to Myanmar. In 2013, she established the Myanmar Center for Responsible Economic, an organisation that promotes ethical and lawful business conduct. She and her Burmese husband, U Htein Lin, a notable artist and a former political prisoner, were detained on August 24 and sentenced to one year in jail for breaking immigration rules by residing at an unregistered residence. U Htein Lin had previously served time in prison for political reasons.
Nang Mwe San, a former medical doctor turned model, was sentenced to six years in jail on Wednesday in Myanmar for publishing suggestive images and videos of herself on pornographic websites. This incident is unconnected to the one described above. She allegedly “distributed paid pornographic photographs and movies that might hurt Myanmar’s culture and dignity,” according to a statement released by the government.
In 2019, while Ms. Mwe San was in the process of having her medical licence revoked, she gave an interview to The New York Times. During the interview, she said, “Whatever I’m facing, I won’t give up my modelling job.” I really like being able to make a living as a model.” She was not permitted to have a counsel during her trial at the local military court, and as a result, she was found guilty on all charges less than two weeks after her first court hearing.
Mr. Turnell had a reputation for being a low-key technocrat who avoided becoming engaged in political activities. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is 77 years old, is still being investigated for corruption in seven further instances, which may add an extra 105 years to her sentence.
According to David I. Steinberg, an expert on Myanmar who teaches at Georgetown University, the military “is bent on insuring that Aung San Suu Kyi never again plays any part in politics.” [Citation needed]