News National Greens Senator detained in Sri Lanka

Greens Senator detained in Sri Lanka

Disciplined by her fellow Greens, Lee Rhiannon isn't taking her punishment in silence. Photo: Getty
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Australian federal MP Lee Rhiannon is to leave Sri Lanka after earlier being detained by local authorities.

The Greens senator for NSW was preparing to host a press conference with New Zealand MP Jan Logie on Sunday morning at their Colombo hotel when the pair had their passports seized by immigration officials.

Sunday was the final day of a four-day fact-finding trip to Sri Lanka ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The two MPs said they were investigating alleged human rights abuses and press freedom in the island nation.

“Abuses so serious that #SriLanka must not host #CHOGM,” Senator Rhiannon wrote on her Twitter page on Sunday, shortly before the scheduled press conference.

The next message came three hours later: “Lee has asked us to pass a message on to her followers: She has had her passport confiscated by Sri Lankan Immigration Officials”.

By 6.30pm (AEST), Senator Rhiannon and her travelling partner were on their way to the airport.

Senator Rhiannon denied claims by Sri Lankan officials that the press conference was in violation of her visa, telling Fairfax Media she had been advised to obtain the “special projects” class tourist visa.

A response has been sought from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The incident comes just over a week after two Australian press freedom advocates were also detained by Sri Lankan officials and accused of violating their visa conditions.

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific director Jacqui Park and her deputy Jane Worthington arrived home last Saturday after two harrowing days of interrogation.

The Sri Lankan government took issue with the Australian duo participating in a press freedom event when they were in the country on tourist visas.