Suu Kyi is found guilty once more and received a three-year sentence: Former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty Thursday in another criminal case by a court in military-run Myanmar. Australian economist Sean Turnell was given a three-year prison sentence for breaking Myanmar’s official secrets law. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, stated that Suu Kyi was given a three-year term after being tried and found guilty with Turnell under the secrets law.
Three other members of her cabinet were convicted guilty and each received a three-year term.
Turnell, an associate professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney, had advised Suu Kyi, who was imprisoned in the nation’s capital Naypyitaw on February 1, 2021, after the army overthrew her elected administration. He has been imprisoned for about a year. He was detained by security agents five days after the military took control of the country in a hotel in Yangon, the largest city, while he awaited a ride to the airport.
Less than a month before to his arrest, he had returned to Myanmar from Australia to begin a new job as a special consultant to Suu Kyi. He has been residing in Naypyitaw for a number of years as the director of the Myanmar Development Institute. Based on documents obtained from him, he was accused with Suu Kyi and the three former Cabinet members. Although state television reported last year that Turnell had access to “sensitive state financial information” and had attempted to leave the country, the specifics of their infraction have not been made public.
Turnell and Suu Kyi refuted the accusations during their defense testimony during the August trial. Turnell was also accused of breaking immigration rules, though it was unclear at the time of writing what punishment he received. The illegal possession, gathering, recording, publication, or sharing of state information that is “directly or indirectly, advantageous to an adversary” is prohibited by Myanmar’s colonial-era official secrets laws. The maximum sentence for the offense is 14 years in jail.
The trial took place entirely behind closed doors in the main jail in Naypyitaw, in a courtroom designed with discretion. A gag order prevented the defense attorneys from discussing specifics of the case. All of Suu Kyi’s trials have been subject to the same limitations. An organization that monitors human rights claims that 15,683 people have been jailed in Myanmar on political grounds since the military took power, with 12,540 of them still being held.
According to the group, security forces have murdered at least 2,324 people within the same time span, though the actual figure is likely much higher. Since the military coup, which was put down with lethal force, there has been unrest in Myanmar. This unrest has sparked armed resistance that some U.N. experts now refer to as a civil war.
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