Green MP Jan Logie's passport confiscated by Sri Lankan officials

Green MP Jan Logie. File photo / APN
Green MP Jan Logie. File photo / APN

Green Party MP Jan Logie says she is "safe'' after being detained by Sri Lankan authorities and her passport confiscated.

She was travelling with Australian senator Lee Rhiannon on a fact-finding trip to Sri Lanka in the leadup to Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo.

Their trip was scheduled to end today and had the aim of finding out first-hand about the human rights abuses that the Sri Lankan people were experiencing, a Green Party spokesperson said.

Four Sri Lankan immigration officials shut down a meeting before the MPs' scheduled press conference and took Ms Logie's and Ms Rhiannon's passports.

Ms Logie told APNZ immigration officials told her and Ms Rhiannon that they had breached the Immigration Act, "which we have disagreed with because we applied for visas, we said we were Members of Parliament and we went for a category for special projects, which we were advised to do.

"Through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia we told them we were coming and what sort of visa we were on,'' she said.

"We don't consider that we've done anything to breach the act.''

The MPs are being detained at their hotel.

The officials wanted to separate the pair and get separate statements,
"We weren't comfortable doing that so we've called the Australian High Commission and we're waiting for their reply.''

There was lots of Sri Lankan media covering the story and the pair had not been ill-treated in any way, Ms Logie said.

"I think it highlights the lack of democracy in the country that talking about human rights is seen as something to shut down by this government.''

When speaking with media before leaving for the trip, Ms Logie said she had concerns about how officials would respond to her, because some members of the Australian media had been deported after it was discovered they were in Sri Lanka on tourist visas.

Ms Logie said she was travelling on a tourist visa, but there was a condition for special projects on that visa.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 02 Aug 2014 13:36:49 Processing Time: 762ms