Tamil asylum seeker facing deportation attempts suicide in Melbourne

*URGENT UPDATE*
Refugee solidarity activists in Melbourne have called for supporters of asylum seekers to join them outside the Maribyrnong Detention Centre. They've been protesting since 7am this morning. Police have arrived to break the community blockade of the detention centre in mass numbers.

The protest is taking place at Maribyrnong Detention Centre, 35 Hampstead Road, Maidstone.

* * *

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on October 31.

* * *

A Tamil asylum seeker scheduled who faced deportation to Sri Lanka today (Wednesday) has attempted suicide in the early hours of this morning.

It is understood that ambulances were called to the Maribynong Detention Centre in Melbourne and that the man has been transported to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The 42 year old Tamil man, who has family still in Sri Lanka, was scheduled to be removed from Australia this afternoon at 3pm after last minute legal action in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney to obtain an injunction to stop his removal from Australia yesterday failed yesterday afternoon.

The man has spent two and half years in detention years in detention in Scherger detention centre and the last few months living in the community in Melbourne on a bridging visa. He was re-detained last Thursday (25 October) when his bridging visa expired and told he was to be deported to Sri Lanka.

“We are extremely concerned about the fate of this asylum seeker,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Sri Lanka remains a dangerous place for anyone deemed to be an opponent of the Rajapaksa regime. The use of torture is systemic.

“In recent months the British High Court has intervened to stop the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers from Britain to Sri Lanka because of the threat of torture they faced.

“The attempted suicide overnight is a reminder of the life and death situation that Tamil asylum seekers face. We are calling on the Minister to urgently intervene to stop the deportation. Tamil asylum seekers being returned to Sri Lanka are being deported to danger.”

This will be the second forced removal since August this year, when the Australian government deported another Tamil asylum seeker, Dayan Anthony.

[For more information contact, Ian Rinoul 0417 275 713. For comment from the vigil at Maribynong contact Arun 0404 431 913.]

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