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Rajapaksa’s party seeks safe passage back to Sri Lanka for fleeing war criminal

The party of the former Sri Lankan president has sought assurances from the government to pave the way for his return to the island, officially submitting a request for “the necessary security and facilities” required.

Sagara Kariyawasam, general secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), told reporters that the party had officially sought the assistance of the current Sri Lankan government.

“We requested the president to facilitate and provide the necessary security and facilities for former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to return to the country,” Kariyawasam said. “The date of his return is not finalised.”

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is currently in Bangkok, where Thai authorities have advised him not to leave his hotel which is being guarded by plainclothes police officers. The former president fled Sri Lanka in the wake of anti-government protests, and has been seeking to stay in a country where he can avoid prosecution for mass atrocities. The former president is accused of overseeing the genocide of tens of thousands of Tamils in 2009.

Rajapaksa arrived in Thailand after initially heading to the Maldives and then Singapore.

Last week, former Sri Lankan ambassador Udayanga Weeratunga said the war crimes accused former is expected to return to the island on August 24.

Rights groups and activists have repeatedly called for Rajapaksa to be arrested before he lands back in Sri Lanka, where impunity for war crimes continues. No one has been held accountable for the massacres of 2009.


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