News ID: 322849
Published: 0324 GMT July 12, 2022

Sri Lanka president’s brother stopped from flying out amid crisis

Sri Lanka president’s brother stopped from flying out amid crisis

Former Sri Lanka’s finance minister Basil Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan immigration officials said they have prevented the president’s brother and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa from flying out of the country, as anger rises against the powerful family for a debilitating economic crisis.

The Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Officers Association on Tuesday said its members declined to serve Basil Rajapaksa at the VIP departure lounge of the Colombo airport.

“We were informed yesterday (Monday) that Basil Rajapaksa could leave Sri Lanka. But as we had decided to withdraw from duties from midnight, we didn’t see him arriving,” K A S Kanugala, president of the association, told Al Jazeera.

Pictures of Basil Rajapaksa at the lounge were reported by local media and widely shared on social media, with some expressing their anger at his attempts to leave the country.

“Following our decision to withdraw, Mr Rajapaksa reportedly came for check-in in normal passenger area. There, angry passengers shouted at him and he has reportedly left the airport,” Kanugala said.

“What we can confirm is that he didn’t leave Sri Lanka officially.”

Rajapaksa, who also holds United States citizenship, resigned as finance minister in early April as street protests surged against shortages of fuel, food and other necessities and quit his seat in parliament in June.

His elder brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to resign as president today to make way for a unity government after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence on Saturday demanding his resignation.



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