Canada grants asylum to four Sri Lankans who protected Edward Snowden

Canada has granted asylum to four people originally from Sri Lanka who hid former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in their tiny Hong Kong apartments when he was on the run after stealing a trove of classified documents, the AFP news service reported.

The four – Supun Thilina Kellapatha, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their children Sethumdi and Dinath – landed in Toronto on Tuesday and were due to go on to Montreal to “start their new lives”, non-profit For the Refugees said in a statement.

The non-governmental group had in 2019 sponsored two other Snowden “Guardian Angels” Vanessa Rodel and her daughter Keana, originally from the Philippines but living in Hong Kong at the time, while continuing to lobby the Canadian government to take in others they said faced persecution in the former British colony.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Kellapatha, Nonis and their two children had faced deportation after their initial refugee claims in Hong Kong were rejected.

A seventh member of the group, Sri Lankan army deserter Ajith Pushpakumara, remains in Hong Kong, where “his safety is still at risk”, according to For the Refugees, which renewed its call for Ottawa to expedite his asylum claim.

“We are happy with the end result – at least for six of the seven,” For the Refugees president Marc-Andre Seguin told Agence France-Presse.

“Although we welcome the arrival and start of a new chapter in the lives of this family of four, we cannot ignore that Ajith has stayed behind,” he said.

“We are asking that Canada [again] do the right thing and admit the last of Snowden’s Guardian Angels before it’s too late.”

In 2013, Snowden revealed thousands of classified documents exposing vast US surveillance put in place after the September 11 attacks.

He fled and was stranded in Hong Kong. The group of refugees agreed to shelter him for about two weeks until he could fly to Russia, where he now lives.

Their role in the saga was only revealed in the 2016 Oliver Stone film about Snowden, which left them in “constant fear and worry” in Hong Kong, said For the Refugees. (Colombo Gazette)

9 COMMENTS

  1. A family of true heroes! Someone should ask the government what their stand on Edward Snowden and Julian Assange is and why they don’t defend them in the UN and other international forums!??

    Let’s see if this SLPP government will call for all charges against Snowden and Assange to be dropped!

    • Why do you think there is no Asian who has done similar things like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange. There is none, or you have no backbone to recognize them because your western masters will be upset with you?

      • Antany, remember a guy called Lasantha Wickrematunge? Wasn’t he a whistleblower who payed the ultimate price!

        What world are you living in!?

        • You forgot Iqbal Athas. Arguably, the best investigative journalist Sri Lanka has produced. The man is very lucky to be alive today.

        • Dear Citizen,

          Lasantha Wickrematunge didn’t understand the situation. The country was fighting against the ruthless terrorism but he was trying to be a hero to please the West, instead of helping the government to eliminate terrorism. Let’s talk about the West for a moment. Do you think that every South Asian is full-filling the legacy of ‘breeding like rabbits’ by licking white balls? Trust me, you will pay for your ignorance. Not long to go, it is coming. Keep hiding behind your keyboard with a fake profile, eventually your ignorance will come back and haunt you.

  2. Don’t confuse traitors with heroes. If you have nothing to hide; you have nothing to fear. Surveillance for the protection of the majority should be welcomed, and not condemned.

    • Dear Gabriella,

      We all know that you have a democracy mask on your face, but inside is an ugly authoritarian evil face who killed millions in North America and Australasia to take over Native people’s homelands.

    • Gabriella, the US has laws to protect whistleblowers like Edward Snowden! Exposing abuse of powers or war crimes has nothing to do with protecting the majority! Please read up on what exactly they published and exposed before criticizing them. They have nothing against the use of surveillance only the abuse of surveillance and the violations of laws that are in place to prevent the abuse… Obama has already pardoned Chelsea Manning with good reasons too.

      Chelsea Manning Is considered a hero in the US now.

  3. I wish them all the best. However, the CIA may take revenge on them, easier to punish them when they are in a western country.

    I am disappointed because China didn’t help them, including Edward Snowden. In this particular case, Canada is the winner when it comes to occupying the moral high ground. China is not interested in occupying the moral high ground to attract global citizens to increase its allies. I keep on emphasizing the value of moral high ground but falls on deaf ears.

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