Australian couple released from detention in Myanmar

Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery were put under house arrest after trying to leave Myanmar on a relief flight in March.

Two Australians who were detained in Myanmar late last month have been released and allowed to leave the Southeast Asian country without charge.

In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade welcomed the couple’s release and said Australian officials had “provided consular assistance” to the couple during their detention and release.

Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery departed Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, on Sunday, the statement said.

The pair – who ran a bespoke consultancy business in Myanmar – were put under house arrest after trying to leave the country on a relief flight in March.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the country’s military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1.

“I am, of course, incredibly relieved to have been released and to be on my way home with my husband, Matt,” Avery said in a statement.

“Even though I knew that I had done nothing wrong, it was very stressful being held under house arrest for two weeks.”

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

The economist and university professor was the first foreign national arrested following the military’s power grab.

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

Avery said she hoped Turnell could be at the very least moved “to house arrest for his physical,

mental and emotional wellbeing”.

More than 2,500 people have been detained since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

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

SOURCE:AL JAZEERA

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