Sydney (AFP) – 06/02/2022. 08:10
Myanmar has detained an Australian expert since the beginning of the coup
- Australia’s foreign minister called on Sunday for the “immediate release” of economist Sean Tornell
- Tornell is an Australian economics professor who served as an advisor to civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi
- He was accused of violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison
Australia’s foreign minister called on Sunday for the “immediate release” of economist Sean Tornell, who is being held by the junta Myanmar for a year.
“We once again call for the immediate release of Professor Tornell,” Minister Maris Payne said in a statement.
“Professor Tornell’s arrest is unfair and we reject the charges against him,” she added.
Tornell is an Australian economics professor who worked as an advisor to the civic leader Aung San Suu Kyi When he was arrested last February, days after the military coup.
He is accused of violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Human rights groups have expressed concern about the charges against Tornell, especially after the Australian embassy was denied access to one of his court hearings in September.
“In accordance with basic standards of fairness and transparency, we expect Professor Tornell to have unimpeded access to his lawyers and Australian representatives to be able to attend his trial,” Payne said.
Tornell was giving a BBC telephone interview when he was arrested after the coup.