Australia denies asylum to 'threatened' Sri Lankan editor of anti-government newspaper

      The Australian authorities have reportedly rejected a political asylum claim by an editor of an anti-government newspaper in Sri Lanka, despite threats to her life at the home country. Frederica Jansz was sacked as editor of The Sunday Leader by the newspaper's new owner, whom she described as an ally of the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Jansz claimed that she sacked because she refused to stop publishing articles critical of the Sri Lankan government, and, in particular, the President.

After receiving several written death threats in Sri Lanka , Jansz made an application, through the Australian High Commission in Colombo , for a humanitarian visa to resettle in Australia , the Brisbane Times reports. According to the paper, she was rejected, with the Australian immigration officials ruling she did not face persecution. A spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said he could not comment on individual cases. He, however, said that of more than 42,000 applications for humanitarian visas to Australia last year, only 6700 could be accepted. "While most applicants have suffered some form of discrimination or persecution, the limited number of visas available and the high demand for places means that only the most compelling cases are able to be resettled in Australia," the paper quoted him, as saying.

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