Australian economist Sean Turnell was freed from prison in Myanmar on Thursday and has arrived in Thailand, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Thursday.
Turnell was a former adviser to deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I’ve just spoken to Sean Turnell, who has been released from 650 days of unfair, unjust imprisonment in Myanmar. And he has now landed and is well in Bangkok. He will travel overnight to Australia to be with his family,” Albanese told reporters in Bangkok, where he was attending an APEC summit.
Albanese thanked prime ministers Prayuth Chan-ocha of Thailand and Hun Sen of Cambodia for keeping pressure on Myanmar’s ruling military to release Turnell.
He said Turnell had told him “people have been wonderful”, referring to the Australian public who had supported the campaign for his release. “He was in amazingly good spirits,” Albanese added.
He said Turnell had also told him he had drawn hope from the Australian crest of an emu and kangaroo printed on the tote bags containing food delivered to his prison cell. “They (emu and kangaroos) don’t go backwards,” Albanese said.
A diplomatic source had earlier told Reuters that the Australian economist as well as a former British ambassador, Vicky Bowman, were freed from prison in Myanmar.