CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA) – Myanmar authorities should immediately free Sean Turnell, an economist and adviser to leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now under house arrest sais Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne who was speaking about the economist on Monday, following his weekend arrest.
Turnell said on Saturday he was being arrested, the first known such incident of a foreign national since military coup, on February 1.
Payne said that Australia, which summoned Myanmar’s ambassador over the arrest, has been in touch with Turnell.
Payne told reporters in Sydney, “We have called for the immediate release of Australian citizen Professor Turnell from detention in Myanmar. Our embassy has been providing Professor Turnell with extensive support during this ordeal.”
Turnell is a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney and has been an adviser for Suu Kyi on economic policy for several years.
Payne did not clearly say where Turnell was being held but she earlier said an unnamed Australian was being detained at a police station.
Police aimed a water cannon at protesters in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw on Monday during the third day of demonstrations.
Turnell told on Saturday he was expecting to be charged after his detention.
“I guess you will soon hear of it, but I am being detained,” Turnell said. “Being charged with something, but not sure what. I am fine and strong, and not guilty of anything,” he said, with a smile emoji.