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Myanmar: Foreign officials kept out of court as citizens prepare to appear



Australian embassy officials in Myanmar have been kept out the courtroom where an Aussie economist Sean Turnell has appeared on charges of violating the country’s official secrets act

The latest developments out of the military controlled nation has raised more doubt about whether Mr Turnell will receive a fair trial.

The 57 year old professor, was working as an adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi before her government was overthrown by the military in a coup in February.

He was arrested five days after the military seized power and was later accused of trying to flee Myanmar with “secret state financial information”.

Hearings have no been scheduled weekly after the Australian appeared in a court in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw last Thursday.

Most concerning is the fact that Australian officials have been kept out of court

The development that has concerned Australian officials and Professor Turnell’s supporters, no consular officials have been allowed to observe proceedings.

“The Australian embassy was not granted access to Professor Turnell’s court hearing on September 23,”

a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia

“We have registered our serious concerns with the Myanmar ambassador in Canberra, and senior representatives in Naypyidaw.”

“The Australian government has made clear to Myanmar authorities our expectation that we receive timely advice on Professor Turnell’s case, including court hearings. We have requested access to all future hearings.”

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