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A Myanmar military court has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her economic adviser, an Australian academic, to three years in prison.
A closed court in the capital Naypyidaw on Thursday convicted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate alongside Sean Turnell, honorary professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney, of breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act , which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
The couple pleaded not guilty last month.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Turnell’s conviction to the Financial Times. Turnell also faces charges of violating the country’s immigration law.
Penny Wong, Australia’s foreign minister, has called for Turnell’s immediate release.
“The Australian Government has consistently dismissed the charges against Professor Turnell during the more than 19 months he was wrongfully detained by Myanmar’s military regime,” she said in a statement.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, has previously been sentenced to 20 years in prison on multiple charges, including corruption and incitement to the junta. She received a three-year sentence with hard labor earlier this month for electoral fraud.
Turnell, who previously worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia, was arrested following a February 2021 coup in which the military overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Earlier this month, a military court sentenced former British ambassador Vicky Bowman and her husband, dissident artist Htein Lin, to one year in prison for immigration offences.
Ha Vu, Turnell’s wife, called the verdict “heartbreaking” and pleaded with authorities to release and deport him.
“Sean has been one of Myanmar’s biggest supporters for over 20 years and has worked tirelessly to strengthen Myanmar’s economy,” she said.