Rajapaksa urged not to leave city hotel

Rajapaksa urged not to leave city hotel

Rajapaksa: Phuket deemed too risky
Rajapaksa: Phuket deemed too risky

Ousted former Sri Lankan president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is staying at a hotel in the heart of Bangkok and police are advising him not to leave for security reasons, a source said yesterday.

Mr Rajapaksa arrived with three other people on a chartered flight from Singapore at Don Mueang International Airport around 8pm on Thursday.

According to the source, the group had planned to land in Phuket but concerns about a possible information leak resulted in the flight being redirected to Bangkok.

At the hotel, the location of which was not disclosed, plainclothes officers from the Special Branch Bureau have been deployed to ensure his safety.

Officials have asked the former leader to remain within the hotel during his stay in the country, the source told the Bangkok Post.

Mr Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on July 14 for Singapore amid massive protests over the country's worst economic crisis in decades.

He resigned from the presidency after arriving in the city-state, where his visa expired this week.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters on Wednesday that Mr Rajapaksa would be allowed to enter Thailand on humanitarian grounds but would be advised to keep a low profile.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the former Sri Lankan president could stay for up to 90 days as he carried a diplomatic passport.

Mr Rajapaksa has made no public appearances or comments since leaving Sri Lanka.

An international human rights group last month formally requested that Singapore indict him for crimes against humanity allegedly committed 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 Mr Rajapaksa for grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Mr Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka's defence ministry while his brother Mahinda was president when the country's brutal Tamil separatist conflict came to a bloody end.

Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome yesterday took to Facebook to attack the government for allowing Mr Rajapaksa to stay in Thailand while "[turning] away Myanmar people fleeing war in the neighbouring country".


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