Thursday, November 15, 2018 07:09:45 AM

Canada: Shelter Torture Survivor Who Helped Snowden

By Human Rights Watch - Wed Jun 20, 4:27 pm

Two mothers hold their children in their arms as they wait outside the immigration department's building in Hong Kong, China.

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Asylum seekers who sheltered Edward Snowden for a period in 2013 stand outside of Hong Kong’s immigration department during a press conference in Hong Kong, China, May 15, 2017. 

© 2017 AP Images

Canada should urgently intervene to admit the asylum-seekers who assisted Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today in a letter to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s immigration, refugees and citizenship minister.

A special application has been made for one of the men, Ajith Debagama Kankanamalage, who is suffering acute post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues as a result of past torture and sexual abuse suffered at the hands of the military and military police in Sri Lanka. He faces the very real prospect that his upcoming appeal of his application for asylum in Hong Kong will be rejected and that he will be returned to danger.

“Canada has been dragging its feet on these applications, apparently waiting out the protracted legal process, and likely rejection by Hong Kong, and the psychological toll on these poor people has been enormous,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “It is shameful that Ajith Kankanamalage, who fled horrific torture and who still has persecutors tracking him, is still unsafe and unprotected, all the more so because he helped Edward Snowden, whom he knew only as a fellow asylum seeker.”

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