Colombo Telegraph

Sri Lanka Activist ‘Alive And Well’ – THE AUSTRALIAN

BY MARK DODD AND LANAI VASEK  (The Australian )

A SYDNEY-BASED Sri Lankan-Australian political activist claimed to have been kidnapped in Colombo has been found “safe and well” but faces deportation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had earlier expressed concern for the welfare of 42-year-old Premakumar Gunaratnam, a dual national whose wife claimed he had been kidnapped by Sri Lankan secret police.

Worried family … from left, Aman Somaratna, 12, Champa Somaratna and Ama Somaratna, 18. Photo: Kate Geraghty

But yesterday Sri Lankan officials confirmed Mr Gunaratnam – missing since last week – was safe and well.

Sri Lankan high commisioner to Australia Thisara Samarasinghe told The Australian yesterday he had been found near Colombo.

However, Sri Lankan officials had serious concerns about Mr Gunartanam’s travel documents, the high commissioner said.

“He has been living in Sri Lanka under three different names and with three different passports. “We maintain that no one under the name of Premakumar Gunaratnam entered the country via legal means and that’s why he was unable to be located,”

Mr Samarasinghe said Sri Lankan authorities were seeking to deport the dual national, he added.

“We understand he has overstayed his visa rights for a very long period.”

On Monday Mr Gunaratnam’s wife, Champa Somaratna, made a plea through the media for authorities to do everything possible to find her husband.

She alleged he had been kidnapped by Sri Lankan secret police over his involvement in the launch of a new socialist political party.

“They told the neighbours to shut off the lights, close the doors and stay inside,” she told The Australian.

Earlier on ABC News 24 she expressed grave fears for his safety at the hands of Sri Lankan authorities.

“They will kill him. If nobody acts, if nobody talks they will kill people.

Dr Somaratna said her husband and another activist, Dimuthu Atigala, who disappeared late on Friday, had attended a meeting together just a few hours before the raid.

The Sri Lankan military spokesman described allegations against the government as “wild”.

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