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An Australian academic who is being tried with ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of violating the country’s official secrets law testified in court for the first time, a legal official said.

Sean Turnell, an economist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, had served as an adviser to Suu Kyi, who was arrested when her elected government was ousted by the army last February.

He was arrested five days later and is now being held in the main prison in Naypyitaw, the capital, as is Suu Kyi. Three of Suu Kyi’s former cabinet members are being tried with them in a special court at the prison.

Sean Turnell and Aung San Suu Kyi in his LinkedIn bio photo.

A legal official familiar with Thursday’s proceedings said Turnell denied the allegations against him and pleaded not guilty.

Further details of his testimony were not available because his lawyers have been barred from talking about the case. All of the trials involving Suu Kyi have been held under similar restrictions, with the proceedings closed to the media and the public.

The exact details of the alleged offence in the case have not been made public.

The judge adjourned Thursday’s proceedings until next week, when Suu Kyi is to testify.



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