Dawn Punjab

Jailed by Myanmar junta, Oz economist ‘faces Covid risk’

NEW DELHI: The wife of Australian economist Sean Turnell has issued an appeal pleading with the Myanmar military authorities to release her husband as a serious threat of Covid was affecting the colonial-era Insein prison where he has been kept since February 6.
An academic herself, Turnell’s wife Ha Vu has posted her appeal on Facebook, where she said the Myanmar state administration has issued an order saying that prisoners will be released due to dangers of Covid in prison. “Please, I beg you, let my husband, Sean Turnell, be released now. He has not been vaccinated so is at grave risk if he catches Covid, especially due to his personal medical history,” she has written.
Ha has written that she does not wish this illness on anyone, the generals or their families or anyone else, as it is a terrible disease and the same be considered for Turnell’s family. “Insein is increasingly becoming a dangerous place with reported deaths caused by Covid-19. I’m begging you to let Sean go home to Australia,” she said.
She has added that if this is not possible, Turnell be released and kept under house arrest. “Sean is a law-binding citizen, he will not run away from you and will only leave your country with your permission,” she said.
Turnell’s lawyers said the prosecution needs him for the Official Secrets Act case against Aung San Suu Ki and so it is better to keep him alive. “I plead you to accept my request, a request from a desperate wife worrying sick about her husband’s health,” Ha said.
So far, all efforts by the Australian government and the wider community have failed to secure Turnell’s release. A well respected and liked academic who specialises in trade and development and has written well received books on subjects like the Chettiars in Burma, Turnell has been a long-time advisor of Aung San Suu Ki.

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Dawn Punjab
Author: Dawn Punjab

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