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Defeated Sri Lankan candidate denies seeking asylum

world Updated: Jan 30, 2010 23:07 IST

AFP
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Defeated Sri Lankan presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka denied on Saturday that he was seeking political asylum abroad, but said several countries had asked Colombo to stop harassing him.

Fonseka, who lost Tuesday's presidential election to the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapakse, said his security detail had been withdrawn, leaving him open to assassination, while supporters and party workers were being arrested en masse.

"They are holding about 20 of my party workers," Fonseka told reporters in Colombo. He said his party office was raided by police commandos who had also taken away his computers and vehicles.

Fonseka dismissed Australian media reports that he was considering political asylum, but said Britain, the European Union, India and the United States had asked Rajapakse to ensure his safety and security, to no avail.

"This government won't listen to anyone," he said.

Fonseka holds permanent US residency. But in November he cut short a US visit to avoid questioning by the Department of Homeland Security about alleged war crimes against Tamil civilians.

Fonseka had earlier agreed to be questioned, but the Sri Lankan government said it feared he would be asked to provide evidence against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the president's younger brother.