The Sunday Leader

Sri Lanka Undecided On Extradition Request For Markandu

By Dinouk Colombage

The government has not made a decision on whether or not it would request for the extradition of Thayakaran Markandu, a suspected human smuggler, who is currently in French custody.
Sarath Dissanayake, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, told The Sunday Leader on Friday that no decision had been taken on whether or not the government would request for the extradition of Markandu.
The suspected human smuggler is currently in French custody where extradition proceedings are underway to deport him to Canada. He is facing a potential life imprisonment sentence with an additional USD 1 million fine.
Interpol had been looking for Markandu, a Sri Lankan citizen, since last month when he was charged over his alleged role in the MV Sun Sea operation, which was the work of human smugglers based in Bangkok.
The suspected organizer was arrested in France on Thursday following a year long manhunt.
Last year it had been reported that Markandu was arrested in Thailand while carrying a French passport. Despite being found with supplies for the voyage, Thai officials released him.
The MV Sun Sea was intercepted off the coast of British Columbia in August 2010. On board, Canadian authorities found 492 Sri Lankans, all of whom have since claimed refugee status. Markandu is the fifth Sri Lankan to be charged with smuggling migrants to Canada by sea since the MV Ocean Lady arrived in October 2009 carrying 76 passengers and crew. Last June, four suspected organizers of the MV Ocean Lady were arrested around Toronto. However, Markandu is the first person to face charges over the MV Sun Sea.

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