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Myanmar court sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to 3 years jail for violating official secret act

Thursday's sentencing took place in a closed court in the capital, Naypyitaw. The defendants' exact offence under the official secrets act remains unclear, though a source previously said Turnell's offence "relates to an allegation that he had government documents".

Myanmar court sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to 3 years jail for violating official secret act AJR
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First Published Sep 29, 2022, 1:17 PM IST

A court in Myanmar on Thursday sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former economic adviser, Australian Sean Turnell, to three years in prison. According to reports, the two had been charged for violating an official secrets act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, and had pleaded not guilty.

According to sources, the court ruled "three years each, no hard labour". Suu Kyi, Turnell, and several members of her economic team are among thousands arrested since the junta overthrew an elected government in a coup early last year, including politicians, lawmakers, bureaucrats, students and journalists.

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In separate cases, nobel laureate Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, mostly related to corruption charges. However, she denies all allegations against her. Turnell, who is also a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Australia, has also been in detention since a few days after the coup.

The Australian Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foreign Minister Penny Wong has previously said Canberra rejected a court decision to put Turnell on trial.

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Thursday's sentencing took place in a closed court in the capital, Naypyitaw. The defendants' exact offence under the official secrets act remains unclear, though a source previously said Turnell's offence "relates to an allegation that he had government documents".

A junta spokesperson did not answer calls seeking comment on Thursday. The junta insists Myanmar's courts are independent and those arrested are receiving due process.

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This week, a beauty queen from Myanmar who had fled to Thailand after speaking out against the junta narrowly escaped being deported to her home country. She is now in Canada where she plans to seek asylum.

And Ma Htet Htet Khine, a journalist who had been working for the BBC’s international charity BBC Media Action, received an additional three-year hard labor prison term on Tuesday after being arrested and charged with incitement under the junta government in 2021.

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