Myanmar: Suu Kyi and Australian Economist Sentenced to 3 Years

Photo: BBC

The Facts

  • On Thursday, a military court in Naypyitaw sentenced Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her Australian economic advisor Sean Turnell to three years in jail for violating the Official Secrets Act.

  • The two were charged alongside three other cabinet members, who were handed the same prison terms based on documents seized with Turnell, who allegedly had access to "secret state financial information."

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Suu Kyi and Turnell are among many who've been detained not by an objective rule of law but by clear political motivation to repress any opposition to the Myanmar coup. Although the judiciary is said to be independent, corruption is a deep-rooted problem and everyone within the justice system has a military background.

Establishment-critical narrative

Turnell and the four other co-defendants have been prosecuted following Myanmar's rule of law. He attempted to run away from the country carrying secret economic data. This ruling has nothing to do with nationality or political affiliations, but with their actions as cabinet members.

Narrative C

Having issued no new sanctions to Myanmar since the coup, Australia is lagging behind the firm stance of its Western allies. "Soft diplomacy" has failed to ensure Turnell's release, and the country must now use targeted sanctions to provide leverage and act against the countless human rights violations.

Establishment split



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