Conflicts & War

Sri Lankan former president leaves Singapore as visa expires

Singapore, Aug 11 (EFE).- Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled massive protests against his rule, left Singapore headed for Thailand on Thursday after his Singaporean visa expired.

The city-state’s immigration authorities confirmed on their website that “Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore on August 11, 2022,” a day after the Thai Foreign Ministry approved his entry into Thailand.

A spokesman for the Thai foreign ministry Tanee Sangrat said in a statement Wednesday that Rajapaksa would be allowed to enter Thailand after a request from the Sri Lankan government.

“With a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport, the former president can visit Thailand without a visa for a period of 90 days,” Sangrat said, adding that the visit will be temporary and that the former president has not requested political asylum.

Rajapaksa, who fled in the midst of the worst crisis in Sri Lanka since its independence in 1948, had been granted a two-week extension on July 27.

Rajapaksa, president since 2019, arrived in Singapore on July 14 fleeing a social revolt in Sri Lanka, with protesters demanding his resignation amid a severe economic crisis. The next day he officially resigned by a letter sent to Colombo from the city-state.

A week earlier, thousands of demonstrators had stormed the official residence of the former leader, forcing him to remain in hiding for several days, until he was able to leave the country aboard a military plane, first heading for the Maldives and later landing in Singapore.

Gotabaya, brother of another former president and former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been accused of nepotism and corruption, as well as of alleged war crimes committed for his role as military commander against the Tamil guerrillas during the civil war between 1983 and 2009.

The Sri Lankan government has denied that Gotabaya will go into exile and said that the former president will return to the country. EFE


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