Families who sheltered fugitive Snowden looking for fast track asylum to Canada

Asylum seekers from left Ajith Pushpa Kumara Vanessa Mae Rodel and her daughter Keana Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and her son Dinath and daughter Sethmundi Kellapatha and Supun Thilina Kellapatha pose outside the building of Hong Kong's immigration depa

"The decisions are completely unreasonable", Tibbo added, describing the refusal to grant protection as "manifestly unfair".

The asylum seekers who bravely took in NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and gave him shelter in their humble dwellings, while he was on the run in Hong Kong in 2013, have had their applications rejected.

Snowden was hiding in Hong Kong in June 2013 after revealing to the press that he had classified information.

Their lawyers and some city legislators have said two of the Sri Lankan refugees have been targeted by agents from their home country who traveled to Hong Kong.

The family of Sri Lankan asylum seeker Ajith Pushpakumara, a former soldier from Sri Lanka who has been living in Hong Kong since 2003, housed the former U.S. intelligence contractor for about two weeks in 2013, shortly after he leaked classified documents that showed the extension of mass online surveillance by the American and other governments.

The Hong Kong government rejected the families' refugee requests last week and they are hoping to settle in Canada.

His clients now face deportation, as well as the risk they would be "detained and their children placed in government custody". The four - Vanessa Rodel from the Philippines, former Sri Lankan soldier Ajith Pushpakumara, and Supun Kellapatha and Nadeeka Nonis, a married couple from Sri Lanka - now face possible detention or deportation.

It also denied that the government has singled the families out for expedited screening, saying the accusation is "unfounded and not true".




According to the lawyer, the government's decision is due to the fact that his clients, four adults and three children, are involved in a case of global spying.

They were put in contact with Snowden because they share Tibbo as a lawyer. "I don't want to be tortured".

Their stories only emerged late previous year.

The asylum seekers have complained publicly several times of having been persecuted in Hong Kong by Sri Lankan authorities, although the Hong Kong government has never acknowledged this claim.

However, it is bound by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and considers claims for protection based on those grounds. Less than one percent of refugees succeed in their efforts, leaving around 11,000 now in limbo and constant fear of deportation.

CNN has asked the Hong Kong government for comment on the decision, but has not yet received a response.

The migrants "now find themselves at dire risk if sent back to their countries", said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch.

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