Australian Parliamentarian Lee Rhiannon who was detained and questioned by Sri Lankan Immigration authorities for breaking immigration laws by attempting to hold a press conference, was issued her Special Projects Tourist Visa by Colombo’s Consulate in Sydney, an Australian newspaper reported.
Rhiannon told Fairfax media that she was advised to obtain a special projects class visas as a visiting parliamentarian.
“The people in the Sri Lankan consulate in Sydney approved the visa and there was no problem with it,” The Australian quoted her as saying.
Sri Lanka’s Consulate in Sydney is headed by Consul General Bandula Jayasekera, now in Colombo for CHOGM.
He told The Australian that the MPs were not being detained by immigration or deported, only being asked not to address the media because it breached the conditions of her tourist visa.
Ms Rhiannon was in the country on a ‘Special Projects’ class Tourist Visa, which she says, as a visiting parliamentarian, she was advised to obtain.
“They said that we had broken the law, and I challenged them on that. We obtained the correct visa, we followed their advice on which visa to obtain, the Australian government alerted the Sri Lankan government to our visit and about what we’d be doing. We followed the rules at all times,” the Australian Senator said.
Rhiannon and New Zealand Green Party MP Jan Logie were both detained by Immigration Officials who shut down a press briefing they were scheduled to hold at the office of the Tamil National Alliance in Bambalapitiya this morning.
The two MPs had been on a fact finding tour to Sri Lanka and travelled to the North where they said they had seen evidence of serious human and legal rights abuses. The two MPs were to issue a damning media statement at this morning’s press briefing, implicating a senior military commander in the abuse of women living in the North.