“You do not know me, but a friend of mine who works at your hotel has just told me that since 4am this morning intelligence and police have taken over the hotel’s security cameras ... You need to leave as soon as you can.”
That was the message received in early February 2021 by Australian economist Sean Turnell, who was working at the time as one of Aung San Suu Kyi’s most senior advisers in Myanmar.
Five days earlier Suu Kyi and other senior figures in her democratically elected government had been detained by the military in a coup that has now installed a junta regime. Soon after that email from “a secret friend”, Turnell was himself arrested, and the mild-mannered academic went on to spend more than 600 days in some of Myanmar’s most notorious prisons.
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