( February 27, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Sri Lankan police Sunday formally denied hunting nationals who sheltered fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and said their claims to the contrary could have been made to bolster asylum applications,” AFP reported while quoting the Sri Lanka police.
Police said they had no interest in the two Sri Lankan men, both asylum-seekers, who in 2013 had helped the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor evade authorities in Hong Kong.
Snowden’s Sri Lankan former hosts, Supun Thilina Kellapatha and ex-soldier Ajith Pushpakumara, told reporters in Hong Kong on last Thursday that they were “scared and nervous” about Sri Lankan police agents’ activities allegedly targeting them in Hong Kong.
“We confirm these allegations are frivolous, unfounded and baseless,” Sri Lankan police said in a statement. It said only one Sri Lankan police officer had traveled to Hong Kong last year, between November and December for five days to attend Interpol training on cybercrime.
The statement did not name the attorneys for the two Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, but said it had come across instances of lawyers making false allegations against law enforcement to strengthen their clients’ asylum claims.
“We have come across lawyers representing asylum seekers who are in the habit of making utter false allegations against officers… with the ulterior motive of supporting (asylum) claims of their clients,” the statement said.
Accompanying the asylum-seekers on Thursday, their lawyer Robert Tibbo and pro-democracy lawmakers James To and Charles Mok said they believed Sri Lankan police agents had targeted the pair. – Agencies