Cambodian PM says false claims of Australian’s release in Myanmar was a “mistake”

Protesters in Kale, Myanmar took up slogans against Cambodian dictator Hun Sen's visit to Myanmar on Thursday. Photo | Tayzar San Facebook.

Cambodian PM Hun Sen says his claims that the Myanmar military junta had released an Australian economist as per his request was an “unintentional mistake.” After authorities in Myanmar said the economic adviser, Sean Turnell, is still the Hun Sen admitted that he had been given the wrong information and had made a mistake.

On his official Facebook page, the prime minister wrote… “The confusion is because of me getting the information wrong. Please forgive me for this unintentional mistake.”

Australia’s Foreign Minister had called for the “immediate release” of Sean Turnell, marking one year since he was detained following the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar. Turnell is the former economic adviser to Myanmar’s deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He was arrested on February 6, 2021 and charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

While speaking to BBC Burmese yesterday, Myanmar military spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun said there were no intentions to free Turnell. A source close to Turnell also confirmed that he has not been released and that the trial for him has yet to begin.

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Rights groups estimate that around 11,000 people have been imprisoned since the coup, and Hun Sen has been willing to meet them despite the bloc’s reservations about legitimising Myanmar’s generals. As chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, he has encouraged the military to follow through on a five-point consensus agreed by the junta leader last year.

A senior Cambodian official told Reuters that the junta chief had agreed to meet with some members of Suu Kyi’s party yesterday.

SOURCES: Reuters| AP

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