Gotabaya Rajapaksa applies for Green Card to settle in US: Report
Colombo, Aug 18: Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country last month amidst massive anti-government protests calling for his resignation, is awaiting to obtain a US Green Card to return to America and settle there with his wife and son, a media report said on Thursday.
Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror, citing highly-placed sources, claimed that Rajapaksa's lawyers in the United States had already begun the procedure last month for his application to obtain the Green Card as he was eligible to apply due to his wife Loma Rajapaksa being a US citizen.
In 2019, Rajapaksa renounced his US citizenship to contest the 2019 presidential polls. Rajapaksa took early retirement from the Sri Lanka Army and moved into the field of information technology, before immigrating to the United States in 1998.
He returned to Sri Lanka in 2005, The procedure will also now involve his lawyers in Colombo submitting the additional documents here in order to go ahead with the procedure, the daily said.
The 73-year-old former President who is presently in a hotel in Bangkok along with his wife will return to Sri Lanka on August 25, cancelling his initial plan to remain in Thailand at least till November, the report said.
The daily said that two days ago, Rajapaksa consulted his lawyers and decided to return to Sri Lanka later this month as he was not allowed the freedom to move in Thailand as initially expected, due to security concerns.
Upon his arrival in Bangkok, Thai police advised the ousted President to remain indoors for security reasons. The Bangkok Post newspaper reported that at the hotel, the location of which has not been disclosed, plainclothes police officers from the Special Branch Bureau had been deployed to ensure the safety of Rajapaksa.
Officials had asked the former Sri Lankan president to remain within the hotel during his stay in the country. Upon his return to Sri Lanka this month, the Cabinet will discuss providing Rajapaksa a state house and security accorded to a former President, the report said. Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives last month and thereafter to Singapore. He entered Singapore on a medical visa and had it extended twice to remain there as much as possible.
As his visa could not be extended further, Rajapaksa and his wife left for Thailand and was assured he could remain there till he finalises his third destination. At the same time, the Thai government had made it clear to Rajapaksa that he should not engage in political activities while staying in the country. However with his movements now restricted in Thailand, he will return to the country, the report said.