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Two Australian citizens released from Myanmar house arrest

Agence France-Presse . Sydney | Published: 10:39, Apr 05,2021

 
 

Cyclists pass police standing next to a burning makeshift tyre barricade, erected by protesters demonstrating against the military coup, in Yangon’s South Okkalapa township on April 1, 2021. — AFP photo

Two Australians who were detained in Myanmar late last month have been released and have left Yangon, Canberra’s foreign affairs department said on Monday.

Business consultants Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery, a dual Canadian-Australian citizen, were put under house arrest after trying to leave the country on a relief flight in March.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said that Australian officials had ‘provided consular assistance’ to the couple during their detention and release.

‘We provided support for their departure from Yangon on 4 April,’ the spokesperson added in a statement, adding, ‘We welcome their release.’

The couple ran a bespoke consultancy business in Yangon.

A third Australian, economist Sean Turnell, an advisor to civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested a week after the putsch remains in custody.

The economist and university professor was the first foreign national arrested following the February 1 coup that ousted the Nobel laureate from power and plunged Myanmar into turmoil.

He is being investigated by the junta over alleged immigration and state secrets offences.

Canberra has suspended military cooperation with Naypyidaw and has advised its citizens to leave the country if it is safe to do so.

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