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An English version of Maldives newspaper, Dhiyares Newspaper, posted an article claiming former President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is expected to be granted asylum in Singapore as guaranteed by Singapore’s government. The media outlet also claimed former Maldives’ President, Muhammad Nasheed, assisted Gotabaya’s escape from the country.

(Screenshot from The Maldives Journal website)

Debunked Source

https://themaldivesjournal.com/39439

Fact Check

In order to verify the claim, we searched for keywords “Gotabya Asylum Singapore” on google search engine and found various articles denying the claim. According to reports Gotabaya was granted a private visa for entry in Singapore. 

(Screenshot from Reuters website)

We also found a clarification letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.

(Screenshot from Ministry of foreign affairs website)

Media outlet also accused of aiding Rajapaksa escape as Maldives ex-president, Muhammad Nasheed, spent years in exile in Sri Lanka and has close ties to country’s political leaders. He was appointed ‘coordinator’ of Male’s relief efforts for Colombo in May 2022.

According to The Maldives Journal, in the last few days Nasheed has held several meetings with high-level political figures and lobbied to grant the Rajapaksa family a safe passage to the Maldives.

Quoting a Maldivian government official, the Maldives Journal reported that after he had resigned, Mahinda Rajapaksa had called Nasheed. In this call, Rajapaksa requested Nasheed to make arrangements so that his family can stay in the Maldives until the situation in Sri Lanka stabilizes.

According to an interview with “News First Lanka” Former President Nasheed of the Maldives categorically denied biased reports of playing a role in the so-called “exit strategy” of political leaders in Sri Lanka. He said his role for Sri Lanka is limited to seeking assistance for a country and people who have always been mutual friends especially in this difficult economic period.

Source

https://www.mfa.gov.sg/Newsroom/Press-Statements-Transcripts-and-Photos/2022/07/20220714-GR-Arrival

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/saudi-flight-believed-to-be-carrying-gotabaya-rajapaksa-lands-in-singapore-122071400901_1.html

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/singapore-allows-sri-lanka-president-entry-private-visit-says-no-asylum-request-2022-07-14/

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/gotabaya-rajapaksa-in-singapore-on-private-visit-hasnt-sought-asylum-singapore-govt-articleshow.html

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/05/24/is-nasheed-here-to-facilitate-a-safe-haven-for-the-rajapaksas/

Rating

Disinformation/Propaganda

Miscaptioned

Conclusion

Our fact-check confirmed that the claims made by media outlets are misleading the general public of Maldives & Sri Lanka by publishing unverified news. 

ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis  

Actor Maldivian news outlets are circulating disinformation via web articles. 
Behavior Fake news of former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya’s asylum in Singapore was published. 
ContentWeb articles. 
DegreeThe targeted audience of this news was both Sri Lankan and citizens of Maldives. 
Effect The news was shared on multiple media and social media platforms concerning both countries; Sri Lanka and Singapore. The Singaporean government had to issue a press release to deny the rumors of Gotabaya’s asylum.