A Sri Lankan asylum seeker, who is an LTTE suspect, has been ordered for deportation next week, despite the UN requesting Australia not to move him while it investigates whether he will be tortured if he is returned, the Guardian reported on Monday.
It said the deportation order issued for asylum seeker Shantaruban by the Australian Border Force says he will be deported on February22.
He will not be permitted any visitors at the airport when he is removed and he will be escorted on his flight to Colombo. He has refused to sign the order.
In October last year the UN committee against torture issued an interim measure request, formally asking that Australia “refrain from returning [Shantaruban] to Sri Lanka while his complaint is under consideration”.
Shantaruban has arrived in Australia by boat in 2012. Having been released to live in the community, he was redetained in 2015 and has remained in immigration detention since.
He fled Sri Lanka fearing repercussions from government security forces for his involvement with the LTTE.
According to the brief before the UN committee, Shantaruban was an active and senior member of the LTTE in particular working as a boat-builder for its naval wing, the Sea Tigers.
The UN and other governments and human rights groups have consistently raised serious concerns over the return of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, particularly those with known links to the LTTE.
There have been widespread reports of the mistreatment and torture of prisoners by Sri Lankan security forces, including the systematic use of rape, the Guardian reported.
The Sri Lankan government has consistently denied mistreatment is occurring.
Shantaruban’s claim for protection turns on his association with the LTTE, which has not been considered by Australian authorities.
Several letters attached to Shantaruban’s submission – including from refugees granted protection in Australia and Sri Lankan members of parliament – declare that he was a senior member of the LTTE.
But Shantaruban was initially reluctant to reveal his connection to the Tigers when he arrived in Australia seeking asylum because he feared he would face deportation or punishment.
Other former members of the LTTE have declared their association and have had their claims to persecution recognised by the Australian government.