Australia says two citizens released from Myanmar detention

SYDNEY: 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 (Apr 5).

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 Australian officials had “provided consular assistance” to the couple during their detention and release.

“We provided support for their departure from Yangon on Apr 4,” the spokesperson added in a statement.

“We welcome their release.”

READ: Myanmar protesters take up Easter eggs; junta hunts celebrities

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 Feb 1 coup that ousted the Nobel laureate from power and plunged Myanmar into turmoil.

READ: Myanmar junta slammed for child deaths amid anti-coup protests

READ: As ethnic armies unite against coup, war returns to Myanmar’s borderlands

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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