The following is an excerpt from rt.com | May 15, 2017 |
Hong Kong has rejected the asylum applications of seven refugees who helped hide NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during his time in the city in 2013. Their lawyer believes the decision was linked to Snowden’s case and was, in fact, made long ago.
The asylum-seekers are Ajith Pushpakumara, a former soldier from Sri Lanka, as well as a family of four from the same country, including Supun Thilina Kellapatha, his wife Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis, and their two children. Also at risk of deportation is Vanessa Mae Rodel, a Filipino woman who has a Hong Kong-born daughter, according to the South China Morning Post.
The ruling of Hong of Kong’s Immigration Department to reject their cases was “completely unreasonable,” said Robert Tibbo, a Canadian lawyer representing the refugees, who added that the decision included many “factual errors.” He also accused the authorities of deliberately trying to force his clients out of the city.
Tibbo, who advised Edward Snowden in 2013 after his arrival in Hong Kong, said his clients are now paying the price for helping the former NSA and CIA contractor evade US authorities. “I felt they already had the decision to reject the clients written up a long time ago... Their screening was expedited not to protect them, but to dispense their cases,” he noted.
The immigration authorities began to take a special interest in the refugees after the world media revealed their roles in helping Snowden mysteriously disappear from the radar of the US’ secret services. When the story went public last year, the lawyers hoped that the publicity would help the Filipinos and Sri Lankans obtain protection and remain in Hong Kong.
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