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Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Australian jailed in Myanmar applauded in Parliament

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Australian economist Sean Turnell who spent almost two years imprisoned in Myanmar, received a hero’s welcome yesterday at Australia’s Parliament House where lawmakers rose in a standing ovation and the prime minister praised his courage, optimism and resilience.

    Turnell, an adviser to Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was among some who were released on November 17 as part of a broader prisoner amnesty during Myanmar’s National Victory Day celebrations.

    Days after Myanmar’s military seized control of the country in February 2021, Turnell was arrested while preparing to leave the country.

    He was sentenced in September to three years in prison on charges of violating the country’s official secrets law and immigration law.

    The 58-year-old Sydney resident and his wife Ha Vu sat in the House of Representatives yesterday on Parliament’s final sitting day of the year as lawmakers stood to applaud the couple.

    “We are so glad as you’ve seen from the response across the chamber here to have you back,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the couple.

    Albanese said the military had “trashed human rights” in Myanmar, where Turnell has worked intermittently over 30 years.

    Albanese thanked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan for helping Australia’s diplomatic efforts to secure Turnell’s release.

    Professor Sean Turnell and his wife Dr Ha Vu attend Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. PHOTO: AP
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