Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese thanked ASEAN’s leaders and Prime Minister Hun Sen in particular for their advocacy to the Myanmar authorities on behalf of Australian Sean Turnell.

Turnell, a professor of economics who served as an advisor to deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was released and returned to Australia after being imprisoned by the Myanmar authorities for 650 days.

Myanmar’s military-run State Administration Council released Turnell on November 17 along with 6,000 other prisoners who had been arrested due to the political turmoil taking place there in the wake of the military coup.

Prime Minister Hun Sen began urging the Myanmar authorities to release Turnell since early 2022 when Cambodia took on the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN.

“I do want to thank, as well, our ASEAN friends, in particular, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia who has chaired ASEAN and has kept the pressure on,” Albanese said in a press conference in Bangkok where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.