Canadian lawmaker to be deported from Sri Lanka

June 10th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 10 (DPA) A Canadian parliamentarian is to be deported from Sri Lanka on the grounds that he was a sympathiser of the Tamil rebel movement, senior government officials said Wednesday.
Bob Rae, who arrived from the Indian city of Chennai, was detained at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, before the government decided the Ontario politician should be sent back to Chennai.

Government officials said Rae had been initially issued with a visa to enter the country, but the government had later decided to revoke it. By the time that decision was make, however, Rae had already left Canada.

There was no immediate reaction from the lawmaker or the Canadian high commission in Colombo about the decision to deport him.

Less than two weeks ago, a demonstration was held outside the commission in the Sri Lankan capital with protesters claiming Canada was sympathetic toward the separatist rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which the Sri Lankan military defeated last month after a more than 25-year conflict.

The protesters caused damage to the visa section of the embassy and chanted anti-Canadian slogans.

Rae had been critical of the recent military offensive against the rebels. Although the civil war has ended, thousands of civilians were killed in the process.

“There is a difference between a war ended by agreement and a war ended by death and destruction,” Rae wrote on his website shortly after the Sri Lankan government proclaimed victory. “If there is no magnanimity in victory, there is no victory… I weep at the lost opportunity, the lost lives.”

He said he would return to northern Sri Lanka, where the conflict ended but said “it is hard not to cry at what has been lost, how much life has been destroyed and what must still be done to bring justice to the peace that is being proclaimed so loudly.”

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