Australian man who advised Aung San Suu Kyi is detained after she was overthrown in Myanmar’s military coup
- Sean Turnell was detained following military coup in Myanmar on February 1
- Mr Turnell was the director of the Myanmar Development Institute in Naypyitaw
- He has also served as special consultant to Aung San Suu Kyi since December 17
- Mr Turnell said he has been detained and that he is ‘not guilty of anything’
An Australian economic advisor has been detained following a military coup against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Sean Turnell said he could not leave his hotel after Myanmar army generals seized power of the country on February 1.
The military alleges fraud in the November 8 election that Suu Kyi and her National League For Democracy party won in a landslide.
Mr Turnell is director of the Myanmar Development Institute in Naypyitaw, Myanmar and has served as special consultant to Aung San Suu Kyi since December 17. He is also a professor of economics at Macquarie University.
Mr Turnell is the first foreign national known to be arrested following the military coup.
Sean Turnell said he could not leave his hotel after Myanmar army generals seized power of the country on February 1
The military alleges fraud in the November 8 election that Suu Kyi and her National League For Democracy party won in a landslide (pictured, police march in line as protestors gather for demonstration against military coup)
‘I’ve just been detained at the moment, and perhaps charged with something, I don’t know what that would be, could be anything at all of course,’ he said.
‘Everyone’s been very polite and all that, but obviously I’m not free to move or anything like that.’
Mr Turnell also sent a message saying he was ‘fine and strong, and not guilty of anything’.
He posted on his Twitter account earlier this week about the volatile situation, including a photo featuring him sitting beside Ms Suu Kyi.
‘Thanks everyone for your concern yesterday,’ he wrote on February 2.
‘Safe for now but heartbroken for what all this means for the people of Myanmar. The bravest, kindest people I know. They deserve so much better.’
A day earlier he wrote: ‘Internet comes and goes, but not the grief on the faces of my Myanmar friends.’
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has confirmed Australians are being detained in Myanmar.
Mr Turnell is the first foreign national known to be arrested following the military coup
Myanmar army generals seized power of the country from Aung San Suu Kyi (pictured, greeting supporters in 2015) on February 1
‘We are providing consular assistance to a number of Australians in Myanmar,’ Ms Payne said in a statement on Saturday.
‘In particular, we have serious concerns about an Australian who has been detained at a police station.
‘We have called in the Myanmar Ambassador and registered the Australian government’s deep concern about these events.
‘The Australian Embassy in Yangon continues to contact Australians in Myanmar to ascertain their safety, to the extent that communications allow.’
Ms Payne’s statement did not mention Sean Turnell specifically.