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US denies visa to Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The US embassy has reportedly denied embattled Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa a visitor's visa to enter the country, after reports that he attempted to flee the island last night.

“It was made very clear to him that there will be no visa for him,” a representative from the US embassy in Colombo reportedly told SBS Sinhala.

Rajapaksa had reportedly requested a visitor visa to travel to California over the weekend. The request was refused.

“He could go there as a head of state without a visa, but the current circumstances are different,” the embassy representative said.

“He sought a safe passage to the U.S. after the recent events, but it was denied,” a Colombo-based US Embassy official also told The Hindu on Tuesday. 

However, SBS reports, the US embassy in Colombo did issue a new US passport to his brother Basil Rajapaksa, who reportedly left his in the presidential residence, which was stormed by protestors on Saturday.

Basil Rajapaksa, the former finance minister of Sri Lanka, also reportedly attempted to flee the island last night. The sibling, once nicknamed “Mr Ten Percent” over his reputation to demand a 10% bribe for any project, was reportedly attempting to board a flight to Dubai, and then travel to the United States where he still holds dual citizenship.

Both men were hindered by angry locals and airport staff who refused to serve them.

Read more in our feature: Stuck in Sri Lanka - Drama at Colombo airport as Rajapaksa attempts to flee

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