Cyprus Mail

Migrant mother leaves Cyprus

The Sri Lankan woman held in Paphos with her husband and child

By Bejay Browne

FOLLOWING her traumatic ordeal at the hands of the authorities a migrant mother who was released from police detention on Tuesday has headed back to Sri Lanka with her 18 month old child.

Her husband, a farmhand, had been forced to bring their 18-month-old daughter to the police station several times a day to be breast-fed. She had been detained for deportation in Paphos.

Police reported that Theajaka Nilanthi Ranathunga, 38, was arrested on March 21 for being in Cyprus illegally.

Ranathunga’s husband, Saman Kumara Vijerathna, 31, spoke to the Cyprus Mail, as his wife and young daughter waited to board a flight to return them to Sri Lanka.

He said: “The situation here has been very bad for us and I’m so sad that our family has now been split up.”

Vijerathna said that although the family regarded Cyprus as home, his wife’s recent arrest had crushed their aspirations for a better life here. Following her release, the couple had decided that mother and child would leave, whilst he stays on to earn money to support his family until his visa expires.

According to Vijerathna, who is working in Cyprus legally, the couple married in Sri Lanka in 2001 and has lived in Cyprus for the last 12 years. For nine of those, Ranathunga was here legally. They have no other children.

“My wife loved her work; she was employed with the same family for nine years as a housemaid and also looked after a sick baby. I fell very sad that I can’t be with my wife and child, I love them very much,” said the heartbroken father.

Their 18 month old daughter was rushed to Nicosia hospital shortly after her birth, with heart problems. She also had problems with her hand, for which she had been receiving physiotherapy treatment.

Vijerathna says all of his savings have been used to pay a lawyer and hospital bills.

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