Sri Lanka: SC Extends Overseas Travel Ban On Ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa & Others Till Aug 2

Sri Lanka’s SC barred former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Central Bank Governor from leaving the island until Aug 2.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Wednesday barred former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, ex-finance minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal from leaving the island nation till August 2, extending an overseas travel ban that was imposed on July 28. Colombo Gazette reported that a petition was filed against Rajapaksas and Cabraal by a group of officials including former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chandra Jayaratne, former Sri Lanka swimming champion Julian Bolling, Jehan Kanagaratna and Transparency International Sri Lanka.

Reportedly, these petitioners have claimed that all three individuals were directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt and the current economic crisis. The Sri Lankan Supreme Court had banned the trio from leaving the country till July 28. Earlier this month, Basil was prevented from leaving the island nation following demonstrators from passengers and officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport here in Colombo.

Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had previously attempted to leave the airport lounge. However, the immigration officers stepped in and barred his departure from Sri Lanka amid unprecedented anti-government protests. Gotabaya had also left Sri Lanka hastily after demonstrators stormed inside his official residence and then tendered his resignation after arriving in Singapore.

Gotabaya to stay in Singapore until August 11: Report

Meanwhile, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to stay in Singapore for another two weeks after leaving the island country hastily over nationwide protests triggered by the worst economical crisis. According to The Strait Times, his short-term visit pass to Singapore has been extended by 14 days after he said he arrived in the country for a private visit earlier this month. On July 13, Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka for the Maldives as demonstrators stormed his official residence in Colombo.

Rajapaksa then arrived in Singapore from the Maldives on a private jet as his home country was engulfed in political and economical turmoil. However, the latest development of him extending his stay in Singapore came just a day after Sri Lanka’s Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told reporters on Tuesday that the former President was expected to return home. Gunawardena had said that he was not aware of when Rajapaksa was returning.

It is to mention here that the 73-year-old was issued a 14-day pass when he arrived at Changi Airport on a Saudi flight from the Maldives.  He had tendered his resignation from the post of Sri Lankan President via email and it was formally announced by the parliament on July 15. His close aide and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was voted by Sri Lankan MPs to be Rajapaksa’s successor.

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