Australia says no asylum request from Sri Lanka’s Fonseka

SYDNEY, January 29, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka has not sought asylum from Australia, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said as he urged the government ensure the retired general’s safety.

Australian media reported that Fonseka was considering seeking temporary asylum in Australia following his defeat in Tuesday’s polls, which the former army chief says were won fraudulently by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

But Smith, speaking to reporters in London on Thursday, said the Australian embassy in Colombo had not received any request from Fonseka.

“My advice is that no such approach has been made so we’re not in receipt of any such approach from General Fonseka,” Smith said, according to the Australian Associated Press.

“I think that it is very important that General Fonseka be provided with two things: that he be provided with freedom of movement, and he be provided with security, personal security in the circumstances that he is in.”

Fonseka said Thursday he would ask the Supreme Court to annul this week’s election result, alleging huge fraud, and that he feared arrest.

He said his security team of 80 troops had been withdrawn and replaced by four plain-clothed po