Sri Lanka deports Liberal MP Bob Rae

Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:49am EDT
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By Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka on Wednesday deported a MP it views as sympathetic to the Tamil Tiger separatists, the latest foreign official it has sent out of the country at the end of a 25-year war.

Bob Rae, a Liberal party legislator, said Sri Lanka's government had reached "ill-conceived and defamatory conclusions about me," and said his record showed he had spoken out against the Tigers during his prior involvement in the peace process.

Rea was stopped at Sri Lanka's international airport, said C.B. Abeykoon, controller of immigration and emigration.

"We got some intelligence reports on this gentleman and the instructions were not to allow him into the country, so he is detained at the airport and he will be deported by the next available flight," Abeykoon told Reuters.

Rae said he was stopped on Tuesday night when he reached the immigration counter in the company of two Canadian High Commission officials.

"The government of Sri Lanka knew my views, and granted me a visa," Rea said in an emailed statement. "I have flown a very long way only to be told the door is firmly shut."

Sri Lanka has refused entry to several foreign officials and journalists it viewed as hostile to its fight to wipe out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The government declared victory over the separatist rebels in a 25-year war on May 18.

It rejected Britain's attempt to send a special envoy to the conflict, saying it had been done without proper consultation, and refused to grant Sweden's foreign minister entry in the closing stages of the war.   Continued...