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Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to Bangkok

(Photo credit: Reuters)

Sri Lanka’s exiled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday after leaving Singapore before his visa expired.

"This is a humanitarian issue. We have made a promise that it's a temporary stay. No political activities are allowed, and this will help him find a country to take refuge in," claimed Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Rajapaksa's arrival in Thailand follows reports that he had made several attempts to seek asylum in the Middle East but was denied.

Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai has stated that Rajapaksa can stay in Thailand for 90 days as he is still a diplomatic passport holder.

"Sri Lankan government did not oppose the visit and the Thai government would not make accommodation arrangements for him," Praamudwinai added.

Speaking before the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in October 2015, Thailand’s permanent representative, Chayapan Bamrungphong reaffirmed his country’s commitment to universal jurisdiction, telling the assembly:

“Thailand attaches great importance to the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, especially in establishing jurisdiction over serious crimes of international character. We believe that proper application and exercise of universal jurisdiction would help enhance accountability, end impunity and promote the rule of law at the national and international levels”.

Despite repeated calls by the UN High Commissioner for human rights to prosecute Sri Lankan war criminals under the principle of universal jurisdiction, no country has yet done so.

Rajapaksa reportedly plans to return to Sri Lanka after the three months granted by Thailand. The Daily Mirror LK reports that "rich businessmen" are funding the president's accommodation in Thailand.

Read more here and here

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