Gotabaya Rajapaksa lands in Thailand

Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (Aug 11) arrived in Bangkok after his visa ran out following a month-long stint in Singapore where he had taken refuge from protesters at home.

The deposed leader landed on a private jet at Don Mueang International Airport around 8pm local time (1200 GMT), a senior Thai official said.

He left the airport’s VIP section around 40 minutes later with his wife and got into a black sedan, local media reported.

Rajapaksa flew into Singapore from the Maldives on July 14 after fleeing a deepening economic crisis and widespread protests in Sri Lanka. He tendered his resignation shortly after his arrival.

Rajapaksa fled his nation after tens of thousands of protesters overran his official residence last month angry about acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine endured by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people since late last year.

An international human rights group last month formally asked Singapore to indict Rajapaksa for crimes against humanity during his country’s decades-long civil war that ended in 2009.

The South Africa-based International Truth and Justice Project said it had urged Singapore to exercise universal jurisdiction to arrest the former president for grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Rajapaksa helmed Sri Lanka’s defence ministry while his brother Mahinda was president when the country’s brutal Tamil separatist conflict came to a bloody end.

Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers confirmed it had received a complaint from the rights group without giving details.

“His Singapore visa runs out on Thursday,” a close associate of Rajapaksa told AFP in Colombo on Wednesday.

“He had applied for an extension, but it had not come through as of Wednesday morning.”

The source said Rajapaksa planned a short stay in Thailand and would return to Singapore.

The Thai foreign ministry confirmed it had received a request from Colombo for the 73-year-old deposed leader to visit and an assurance that he would not seek political asylum.

“The Thai side received a request for the former president to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka,” ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said in a statement.

“The stay is temporary in nature with the aim of onward travel. No political asylum has been sought.”

The Rajapaksa confidant told AFP that the former leader was keen to go home as protests against his administration had fizzled out, but his successor Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised him against an early return.

Singapore officials had said he was on a private visit to the city-state and the foreign minister stressed that he was not given any special privileges.

“In general, the Singapore government does not accord privileges, immunity and hospitality to former heads of state or heads of government,” Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in a written reply to a question in parliament last week.

“Consequently, former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was not accorded any privileges, immunity or hospitality.”

Sri Lankans arriving in Singapore normally receive a 30-day visa, but authorities said they had initially given Rajapaksa only two weeks and later extended the visa by another two weeks.

“The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) confirms that Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore on 11 August,” Singapore’s immigration office said in reply to an AFP query.

The Thai foreign ministry, as well as a source in Colombo, had said Wednesday that he was seeking a new safe haven in Thailand. (Courtesy AP)

4 COMMENTS

  1. I actually feel sorry for the fool. Hopefully, they won’t give him a twenty one gun salute with the guns pointing at him.

  2. You should have realised something terribly wrong with you, because I refused to marry one of you and I don’t live among you because I hate to live among fools. If Tamils had realised their stupidity, we could have concluded the war in 2003. I can’t do what I am doing if I married to a South Asian fool. I am well aware of my sister and my female cousins, they are utter fools. What do you expect from the fools who enjoy watching South Indian movies and Television series? They suppose to think better than my mother and the other women such as Sirimavo Bandaranaike but the younger generation have gone backward. Because Sri Lanka went behind poor and undeveloped India. Because of India and westen powers, the country fought Asia’s longest brutal civil war for decades and gone backward in everything. Today, the people are begging the world to eat and their leaders are going country to country to find a safe haven. Environment caused you to go backward, but you don’t want to change it. Therefore, I don’t see a solution, but a disaster. Soon, the people will be fighting on behalf of the foreign powers. Some will fight on behalf of India and westen powers the others will be fighting on behalf of China.

  3. Those days Singapore was envy of Sri Lanka. Nowadays former Sri Lankan President was looking for a safe haven in Singapore but refused by the Singapore government. This is an embarrassment for 22 million Sri Lankans, because Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected by the people. Fools, you do not realise how far you have fallen by your stupidity. Sadly, you keep falling because you are utter fools.

  4. Non alliance will not help you to develop the country or to protect yourselves. I supported the Rajapaksas to eliminate the LTTE and encouraged them to commit to China. But the Rajapaksas thought they are too smart by showing their heads to China, Tails to America and foot to India. Now the country is torn apart and the Rajapaksas are seeking a safe haven all over the world.

    In 1987 Indians dropped rice from helicopters, so Tamils ended up killing themselves for India. This year Indians brought rice through ships to Sinhalease, so now Sinhalease are ready to die for Indians. I say it again, India has no chance to become a superpower. You all are sacrificing your lives and country for nothing. I say it again, Sinhalease will end up with nothing as Tamils.

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