4 Refugees Who Sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong Granted Asylum in Canada
The four were a part of a group of seven poverty-stricken refugees in Hong Kong who sheltered Snowden in 2013.
Four Sri Lankan refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden in their tiny Hong Kong homes while he was on the run after exposing NSA spying, have been granted asylum in Canada, reported AFP.
Supun Thilina Kellapatha and Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis landed in Toronto on Tuesday, 28 September, with their children Sethumdi and Dinath, and were headed to Montreal to start their "new lives", said a statement by the non-profit, For the Refugees.
The family was part of a group of seven poverty-stricken refugees from Sri Lanka and the Philippines, living in Hong Kong, who inspite of their condition, agreed to shelter Snowden after his shocking revelations in 2013.
Kellapatha's family had earlier faced deportation after their initial refugee claims in Hong Kong were rejected, said the AFP report.
In 2019, Vanessa Rodel, from the Philippines, and her daughter Keana were granted asylum in Canada after For the Refugees argued that they faced persecution in their home country, as well as in Hong Kong, for helping Snowden.
"I'm so happy this is over. I'm so happy to be going to Canada," the South China Morning Post quoted Kellapatha as saying before he and his family boarded the plane from Hong Kong to Canada.
"We have a new life, our children now have a future. We're so grateful right now. Really, I am speechless... The kids are so happy. I'm so grateful."
"This is the best news I've heard in a long, long time", said Snowden on Twitter, reacting to the news.
"We need to bring one more home before we can say we're done, but I cannot thank you enough for bringing us this far," he added, seeking asylum of Ajith Pushpakumara.
Pushpakumara, a Sri Lanka army deserter still remains in Hong Kong, where "his safety is still at risk" as per For the Refugees.
The organisation has now made a renewed request to Canada to expedite his request for asylum.
"We are happy with the end result — at least for six of the seven," For the Refugees president Marc-Andre Seguin told AFP.
"Although we welcome the arrival and start of a new chapter in the lives of this family of four, we cannot ignore that Ajith has stayed behind," he said.
"We are asking that Canada (again) do the right thing and admit the last of Snowden's Guardian Angels before it's too late."
(With inputs from AFP)
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