December 6, 2023

A photograph shared on Facebook reportedly showing former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on a flight from the Maldives to Singapore after his resignation.

Verdict: Wrong

The photo was taken in 2016 and shows Rajapaksa on a plane bound for Japan, not Singapore.

Data Check:

Rajapaksa resigned as president of Sri Lanka on July 14 and fled the country following a series of anti-government protests, according to CNN. The country’s government has since cracked down on protesters who took part in the protests that led to the resignation of the former president, The New York Times mentionted.

An image shared on Facebook claims to show Rajapaksa and some of his entourage on a flight from the Maldives to Singapore after he left office. “Exiled Sri Lankan President Gotapaya Rajapaksa (sic) spotted on flight from Maldives to Singapore,” reads the photo’s caption.

However, the picture predates the current crisis in Sri Lanka. A reverse image search reveals that it was originally posted on Rajapaksa verified Facebook account in 2016 during a trip to Japan. “On the way to #Nagoya with amazing views of Mt.Fuji. Looking forward to meeting the Sri Lankan community in the evening – GR,” the post captioned.

The photo also appears in a 2016 article published by the Sri Lankan news agency the Colombo Telegraph. (RELATED: Did Time Magazine Cover Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa?)

This is not the first time misinformation about Rajapaksa has gone viral. Check Your Fact previously debunked a photo from April 2022 purportedly showing a Time magazine cover featuring Rajapaksa.

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