Swiss reporter to be deported

By Roel Raymond

The government has cancelled the visa of a Swiss reporter who was in Sri Lanka to cover the Presidential elections, asking her to leave the country by Monday.

Chief Immigration Controller P.B. Abeykoon speaking to Daily Mirror online said that the visa had been cancelled on the orders of the Director Media of the Information Department. Abeykoon said that he had merely followed instructions and did not know the reason for the cancellation.

Meanwhile the AFP reported that Karin Wenger of Swiss Public Radio had said that she was sent a letter by the Immigration Controller,  saying that she must leave the island before Monday and that her application for a media accreditation card had been denied.

She had however already been issued with media accreditation by the Sri Lankan government Department of Information, with the journalist visa valid until Feb 17. 'I fear I have been kicked out for asking uncomfortable questions at a government press conference,' Wenger who is based in New Delhi, told AFP.

A government minister had publicly criticised her for grilling authorities on allegations of irregularities at Tuesday's vote, which was comfortably won by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

A letter sent to her from the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, seen by AFP had stated: 'You are kindly informed to leave the country on or before the 1 February 2010. Please note that you are not entitled to engage in any media activities in Sri Lanka during this period.'

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