Ten foreigners flee from Mirihana

The Department of Immigration and Emigration says 10 foreigners had escaped from the premises over the past few days.

Among those who fled are four Pakistan nationals including a Pakistani journalist, the department said.

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has meanwhile decided to suspend detaining foreigners at the special detention center in Mirihana owing to overcrowding.

Controller of Immigration and Emigration General Chulananda Perera said that the detention center can hold only 70 persons but there are over 100 foreigners detained on the premises.

Perera said that until the overcrowding issue is resolved foreigners who are arrested will be released after their passports are seized.

He said that the foreigners will be asked to return to the Immigration Department with a valid air ticket to return to their country for the passport to be handed back to them.

Foreigners who are detained mainly for violating visa regulations are handed over to Embassy officials to be returned to their respective countries.

However, Perera says most Embassy officials fail to visit the detention center to take custody of the foreigners.

Some foreigners detained at the Mirihana detention center also seek citizenship in Sri Lanka and refuse to return to their countries of origin.