Singapore: An Australian publisher who was sentenced to 13 years in jail in Myanmar on drugs charges has been released after less than three years behind bars, his ex-wife said on Saturday, after the countrys military regime announced a mass pardon of more than 23,000 prisoners.
Ross Dunkley, who co-founded the Myanmar Times in 2000 was convicted of drug offences in 2019 after police discovered heroin, crystal methamphetamine and marijuana at his house.
Ross Dunkley was arrested in Myanmar in 2018 for drug possession.Credit:AP
The prison term was later reduced to seven years, with Dunkley serving his time in Yangons notorious Insein Prison, built in the 19th century during Britains colonial rule over the former Burma.
However, he was released on Saturday, his ex-wife Cynda Johnston told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as the junta that seized power on February 1 announced it had pardoned 23,047 inmates including 137 foreigners.
Australian economist Sean Turnell, an adviser to ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and one of more than 3000 political prisoners locked up since the military coup, was not on the list of detainees let out, friends of the academic said on Saturday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.
The announcement of the mass pardon was made on Saturday on state television station MRTV, which said the foreigners released from jail would be deported while the sentences of some others not released would be reduced.
Dunkley faces reporters in Yangon before being jailed.
The news came amid the five-day Myanmar New Year festival of Thingyan, which has been far more low key than usual following 10 weeks of violence in which the junta has cracked down brutally against the pro-democracy movement, resulting in 728 deaths including dozens of children according to monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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