Canada on Tuesday granted asylum to four people who hid former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in his small Hong Kong apartments as he fled after stealing a trove of classified documents.
The four, Supun Thilina Kellapatha, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their children Sethumdi and Dinath, landed in Toronto in the afternoon and were due to go to Montreal to “start their new lives,” the nonprofit For the Refugees said in a statement.
The non-governmental group had sponsored two other Snowden “guardian angels” in 2019, Vanessa Rodel and her daughter Keana, originally from the Philippines but living in Hong Kong at the time, while continuing to pressure the Canadian government to take in others. which they said to face. persecution in the former British colony.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Kellapatha, Nonis and their two children faced deportation after their initial applications for refuge in Hong Kong were rejected.
A seventh member of the group, Sri Lankan army deserter Ajith Pushpakumara, remains in Hong Kong, where “his safety is still at risk,” according to For the Refugees, which renewed its call to Ottawa to expedite his asylum application.
“We are happy with the final result, at least in six of the seven,” For the Refugees president Marc-Andre Seguin told AFP.
“While we welcome the arrival and beginning of a new chapter in the life of this family of four, we cannot ignore that Ajith has been left behind,” he said.
“We are calling on Canada (again) to do the right thing and admit the last of Snowden’s Guardian Angels before it is too late.”
In 2013, Snowden revealed thousands of classified documents exposing extensive American surveillance implemented after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He fled and was stranded in Hong Kong. The refugee group agreed to house him for about two weeks until he could fly to Russia, where he now lives.
Their role in the series was only revealed in Oliver Stone’s 2016 film about Snowden, leaving them in “constant fear and concern” in Hong Kong, For the Refugees said.