Canada Grants Asylum to Refugees Who Sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — A Sri Lankan household that sheltered the previous Nationwide Safety Company contractor Edward J. Snowden after he fled to Hong Kong in 2013 has been given asylum in Canada, an help group supporting the household mentioned Tuesday.

Supun Thilina Kellapatha and Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis landed in Toronto on Tuesday with their youngsters, Sethumdi and Dinath. They deliberate to journey on to Montreal and settle there as everlasting residents.

“This is the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time,” Mr. Snowden tweeted.

The transfer ends an extended interval of uncertainty for the household, who had sought asylum in Hong Kong however had been denied it in 2017. Mr. Kellapatha had mentioned he was tortured in Sri Lanka.

“After over a decade in limbo, they can now begin to build new lives in Canada, reunited with the rest of their family and free of the constant fear and worry that marked their existence as high-profile asylum seekers in Hong Kong,” Marc-André Séguin, the president of the help group For the Refugees, said in a statement.

Mr. Kellapatha and Ms. Nonis had put up Mr. Snowden for about three days of their 250-square-foot residence in Hong Kong in 2013, simply after the contractor had develop into the main focus of intense international consideration for his revelations about secret United States surveillance packages.

“He said, ‘You are a good man,’” when he arrived, Mr. Kellapatha recalled in 2016. “But I feel he is better than me because he respected me.”

Mr. Kellapatha mentioned he didn’t fear about internet hosting Mr. Snowden and believed it was the previous contractor who was most in danger. The household later used $200 that Mr. Snowden left for them beneath a pillow to purchase meals and clothes for his or her daughter, Sethumdi.

The keep was organized by a lawyer, Robert Tibbo, beneath the idea that cramped refugee flats in poor Hong Kong neighborhoods had been the final place anybody would search for one of many world’s most wished males. That assumption proved appropriate. Mr. Snowden, after a short keep on the luxurious Mira Lodge, vanished from public view as he moved from one refugee residence to a different.

After about two weeks, he left for exile in Moscow, the place he stays as we speak. He faces prison fees in the USA for disclosure of labeled data.

A Filipino refugee who additionally sheltered Mr. Snowden, Vanessa Mae Bondalian Rodel, was granted asylum in 2019 in Canada along with her daughter, Keana Nihinsa. Canada has not but permitted the applying for one more refugee who sheltered Mr. Snowden, Ajith Pushpakumara. Mr. Pushpakumara, from Sri Lanka, mentioned he abandoned the nation’s army and faces doable execution if he’s despatched again.

“We have no doubt that Ajith’s application will ultimately be accepted, as these others have been, but every day he remains in Hong Kong puts him at risk,” Mr. Séguin mentioned within the assertion. “It’s time for Canada to cut through the red tape and finish processing his application.”

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