NAYPYITAW, Myanmar - On Thursday in Naypyitaw, a military court sentenced State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her Australian economic advisor Sean Turnell to three years in prison under the Official Secrets Act.
More than 18 months after their detentions, Judge Win Tin of Pyinmana District Court handed down the sentences during a hearing inside the Naypyitaw Detention Centre.
The Australian national economist was also found guilty of violating Section 13(1) of Myanmar's Immigration Act, which deals with illegal entry or overstays. He was sentenced to three years in prison for this.
"It's terrible news, but hopefully, it opens up the possibility of the next step... for his return home," Nicholas Coppel, a former Australian ambassador to Myanmar, told the press on Thursday. "Now that the trial is over, the military regime will be wondering what to do with Sean [Turnell]." In previous cases, foreigners were convicted and then quickly pardoned or deported. I believe that is the best we can now hope for in Sean's case."
Turnell was detained by the military on February 6, 2021, just five days after the military coup that deposed the elected National League for Democracy government led by Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi, who turns 77 in June, was previously sentenced to 20 years in prison for 11 other convictions, bringing her total sentence to 23 years after the recent ruling. The military filed seven additional charges against her after her arrest.
According to a source familiar with the proceedings, Suu Kyi and Turnell appeared in good health in court on Thursday inside the detention center.