Adding to the controversy surrounding the citizenship of presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Non-Cabinet Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said today that a US court has referred to Rajapaksa as being a dual citizen.
According to the documents pertaining to the case, Senasinghe told reporters in Colombo today, Rajapaksa is still referred to as a ‘citizen of the United States and of Sri Lanka’.
“A person named Manojkumar Samathanam is the defendant of the case. Gotabaya requests that he will be entitled to immunity when he becomes the President of Sri Lanka because in the United States there is a law that a case cannot be filed against a person although that person is an American citizen if he or she becomes the leader of some other country. What matters to us is that the document regarding the case states Rajapaksa is a citizen of the United States and of Sri Lanka. This case is filed under the assumption that he is an American citizen. He says he might become the leader of another state and requests to halt the case until the presidential election is over, and the American court accepts it,” said Senasinghe.
“Gotabaya also presented a motion regarding this case. If he says he renounced his citizenship in April, then he is not an American citizen. If he mentioned that in his motion the case against him will not be valid. But on the motion filed by him on 26 August 2019, it is not mentioned that he is not an American citizen,” the Minister added.
Rajapaksa’s citizenship would not have been so hotly contested had he produced the US Embassy-issued certificate renouncing his American citizenship, said Senasinghe.
“Rajapaksa’s citizenship was much debated in the recent past. Had he requested a certificate for renouncing his citizenship from the American Embassy, they would’ve given it to him and he could have shown it to the country. As far as we know, he hasn’t requested for such a document nor has the Embassy issued one,” he said.