Turnell's wife urges his Myanmar release

·1-min read

The wife of Australian Sean Turnell, economic adviser to deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has made a plea to the military junta for his release from jail over concerns he is suffering COVID-like symptoms.

Accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, Turnell has been held in Insein prison in Yangon for about five months since his arrest shortly after the February 1 coup.

Plunged into political and humanitarian chaos since the coup, Myanmar is also now battling a devastating wave of COVID-19 aggravated by a lack of oxygen, the collapse of the health system and the population's deep mistrust of the military.

"The Delta variant has reached Insein and my husband has experienced cold and flu symptoms for a few weeks. His health is at tremendous risk," Ha Vu said on Facebook on Sunday night, asking for his release on compassionate grounds.

Hu Va said Turnell "should be treated with respect and dignity", adding his father "has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and he doesn't have long to live. Sean knows this and he is devastated."

Myanmar reported 5285 new COVID-19 cases and 231 deaths on Sunday, but medical experts say the numbers are assumed to be much higher.

Since February, the Australian government has called for the release of Turnell, who is also director of the Myanmar Development Institute based in the capital, Naipyidaw.

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