Journalism of Courage

Ousted Sri Lankan president arrives in Thailand

Mr Rajapaksa has made no public comments about his travel plans. After fleeing Sri Lanka last month, he first went to the neighbouring Maldives aboard a Sri Lankan military plane and then to Singapore, where his visa expired on Thursday.

Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who last month fled anti-government protests in his country, arrived in Thailand on Thursday night on a flight from Singapore, where he had been staying since mid-July.

Thai television stations showed Mr Rajapaksa and a woman believed to be his wife outside the VIP hall at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport as they were led to a limousine, which then drove off to an undisclosed destination.

Officials in Thailand on Wednesday said they had been asked by the Sri Lankan government to allow him entry, and that he would be permitted to stay temporarily.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said he was aware of Mr Rajapaksa’s intended visit and that it was allowed for humanitarian reasons because the former president was seeking asylum in a third country.

He did not elaborate but said Mr Rajapaksa would not engage in political activity while in Thailand.

Mr Rajapaksa has made no public comments about his travel plans. After fleeing Sri Lanka last month, he first went to the neighboring Maldives aboard a Sri Lankan military plane and then to Singapore, where his visa expired on Thursday.

He submitted his resignation only after he left Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankans staged massive street protests for months demanding democratic reforms and solutions after the country’s economy collapsed.

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