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Gotabaya Rajapaksa returns to Sri Lanka from exile after seven weeks

Colombo, Sri LankaEdited By: Chaheti Singh SisodiaUpdated: Sep 03, 2022, 03:02 PM IST
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Photograph:(WION)

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Rajapaksa, 73, had arrived from Bangkok through Singapore and was greeted with flowers by a welcoming party of ministers and lawmakers when he disembarked at the main international airport. 
 

An airport official reported that former president of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived back in the nation on Friday, seven weeks after fleeing in the face of irate protests over the island's worst-ever economic crisis. 

The official stated that Rajapaksa, 73, had arrived from Bangkok through Singapore and was greeted with flowers by a welcoming party of ministers and lawmakers when he disembarked at the main international airport. 

He announced his resignation in Singapore before travelling to Bangkok, where he has been pleading with his replacement to make arrangements for his return, which is now scheduled for late Friday or early Saturday.

The constitution of Sri Lanka provides past presidents with bodyguards, a vehicle, and lodging. 

In response to a number of crimes, including his alleged involvement in the 2009 murder of renowned newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, rights advocates declared they would pursue Rajapaksa's arrest. 

Due to the termination of Rajapaksa's presidential immunity, old criminal proceedings against the former president may now be reopened.

In addition, he is accused of murdering Wickrematunge and torturing Tamil detainees in 2009, after the close of the horrific civil war on the island. 

Rajapaksa travelled to Thailand in August after Singapore declined to extend his short-term visa; nevertheless, Bangkok authorities advised him to stay inside his hotel for his own protection.

(with inputs from agencies)