New DelhiA court in military-ruled Myanmar on Thursday sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former economic adviser, Australian Sean Turnnell, to three years in prison, a source familiar with the proceedings said. Both were charged with violating an Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, and pleaded not guilty.
“Three years each, no hard labor,” said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. Suu Kyi, Turnell and several members of their economic team are among the thousands who have been arrested since the overthrow of an elected government early last year, including politicians, lawmakers, bureaucrats, students and journalists. were involved.
Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison on separate counts, mostly related to corruption charges. She denies all the allegations against her. Turnell, who is also a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Australia, has been in custody days after the coup.
The Australian Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foreign Minister Penny Wong had previously said Canberra had overruled the court’s decision to put Ternell on trial.
Thursday’s sentence took place in a closed court in the capital, Naipitaw. The defendants’ exact guilt under the Official Secrets Act is unclear, although a source previously said that Turnell’s crime “related to an allegation that he had government documents”. A Junta spokesperson did not respond to a call seeking comment on Thursday. The junta insists that Myanmar’s courts are independent and that those arrested are receiving due process.