Junta amnesty backflip concerns Australia

The Australian government is concerned about a backflip from Myanmar's junta, which is now seeking to annul the amnesty given to an Australian professor.

Professor Sean Turnell arrived in Australia at the end of last year after being locked up in the southeast Asian nation for 650 days after the military took control in a 2021 coup.

But the junta is now revoking his amnesty and wants him to return to face court.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs called in Myanmar's Charge d'Affaires to convey Australia's concern at the backflip.

"The government is deeply concerned that Myanmar authorities have annulled Professor Turnell's amnesty and issued a subpoena for him to appear in a Myanmar court," a department spokesperson said.

The 58-year-old economist worked as an adviser to ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and was sentenced to three years jail for "violating the country's official state secrets act".

It's a charge the Australian government has always rejected.

"The Australian government never accepted the basis of Professor Turnell's detention, nor the charges against him," the spokesperson said.

"We are disappointed that he is now being asked to answer for an undefined offence following his release from detention."

Australia doesn't have an extradition treaty with Myanmar.

Prof Turnell was freed in November under an amnesty covering close to 6000 prisoners to celebrate Myanmar's National Victory Day.

He was warmly welcomed by Australia's parliament in December after he returned home and said he still wished to return to Myanmar to help the people.