Friend: 2 Australian agriculture consultants held in Myanmar

An Australian couple working as agriculture growth consultants in Myanmar are being detained at their residence after the girl was not allowed to depart the nation, a good friend mentioned on Monday.

Christa Avery was refused permission to board a flight to Australia on Friday and he or she and her husband Matt O’Kane have been detained at their Yangon residence since then, mentioned their Sydney-based good friend Tim Harcourt, a College of New South Wales economist.

Australia’s Division of Overseas Affairs and Commerce mentioned in an announcement it was “offering consular help to 2 Australians in Myanmar,” however would offer no additional particulars.

The couple have been pals with Australian Financial Coverage Adviser Sean Turnell, who has been in detention since early February, Harcourt mentioned.

Turnell was detained inside weeks of arriving in Yangon from Australia to take up a job as adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s authorities, which was ousted in a navy coup Feb. 1.

Australia has repeatedly demanded Turnell’s launch. Two weeks in the past, the Australian authorities introduced it had suspended its protection cooperation with Myanmar and was redirecting humanitarian help due to the navy takeover and Turnell’s ongoing detention.

Harcourt didn’t suppose the couple had been detained due to their friendship with Turnell.

“They each work in areas the place there’s a number of international help cash coming into Myanmar,” Harcourt mentioned, referring to Turnell and the couple.

“Possibly the junta’s making an attempt to hint the place the international cash is coming in as a result of most international help has now dried up as a result of they (donors) don’t wish to assist the navy,” Harcourt added.

Avery, who was born in Canada and is a twin citizen, left Sydney a decade in the past to work in Myanmar, Harcourt mentioned.

The Australian group in Myanmar was small and “fairly pleasant with one another,” so it was commonplace that the couple could be pals with Turnell.

“They’re in residence detention so it’s not fairly as unhealthy as Sean as a result of they took him away,” mentioned Harcourt, who can be Turnell’s good friend.

“I’m simply hoping they’ll keep in residence detention and wait it out. It’d blow over,” he added.

Avery didn’t instantly reply to an e mail from The Related Press on Monday.

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