ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 30, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 44

Passports of FORUT boss and wife seized and released

By Hiranthi Fernando

Secrecy surrounds an investigation the Department of Immigration has launched against Terje Heggernes, the head of FORUT, a non governmental organization (NGO) from Norway.

P.B. Abeykoon, Controller of Immigration and Emigration told The Sunday Times yesterday that the Investigation Unit of his Department seized the passports of Terge Heggernes, the FORUT head and his wife. He said this followed a complaint received by the Department but declined to elaborate.

“The passports were released after the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo gave an assurance that Mr. Heggernes, who has to leave the country urgently, would return and make himself available if needed,” Mr. Abeykoon said.

Efforts by The Sunday Times to obtain a response from officials at the Norwegian Embassy proved futile. One official directed that another be contacted for information. Later, the mobile phones of both officials rang and there was no response.

Mr. Heggerness, however, said yesterday that the reason for the seizure of his and his wife’s passports was over a question on whether the latter was working for FORUT in Sri Lanka. “It has been established that she is not and the passports were released,” he said.

The FORUT head added that he had told officials of the Department of Immigration that he could return the two passports once he returned to Colombo after visiting Oslo for an “important meeting.” He said “I am working here and I will come back.”

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