Tamil refugee claimants fear torture if deported

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Britain's high court has halted the deportation of Tamil refugee claimants over concerns that they face torture on their return. A British Human Rights Agency says it has documented ongoing torture by government forces, even though the civil war has ended. That's led to similar calls for reconsideration of those Tamil refugees claiming asylum in Canada. Today, we bring you the story of one man whose Canadian employer is fighting to keep him here.



Tamil refugee claimants fear torture if deported - Personal Story

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews had doubts all the passengers on the cargo ship Sun Sea were legitimate refugees. Almost 500 men, women and children from Sri Lanka paid thousands of dollars for a three month voyage.

Ottawa suspected many were members of the Tamil Tigers, the armed independence organization Canada labels a terrorist group. So far 20 refugee claims have been approved and another 35 rejected. Two people have been removed from Canada...one to Sri Lanka and one to India.

There may soon be another. A man we're calling John has been ordered deported in three weeks time. For the past year he has been working in Toronto. We've agreed not to broadcast his name because if the deportation goes ahead, he fears reprisals in Sri Lanka. We're speaking to him with a translator's help.

And we're also speaking with one of the people fighting to keep John in Canada, his employer, David Tinmouth. He owns a renovation company in Toronto.

David Tinmouth has been unsuccessful in getting John his refugee claim. John now faces deportation to Sri lanka next month.

Tamil refugee claimants fear torture if deported - Lawyer Hadayt Nazami

John's lawyer believes his client would be tortured in Sri Lanka because he's already been tortured in Sri Lanka. Lawyer Hadayt Nazami was also in our Toronto studio.

We requested an interview with Citizenship and Immigration. They will not comment on a specific case, and referred us to the Canada Border Services Agency. It wrote to say it can only speak to its role, which is enforcing removal orders. And that "Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law and no one is removed until due process is complete."

Tamil refugee claimants fear torture if deported - Freedom From Torture

Keith Best is the CEO of Freedom From Torture. It's a UK based group that's lobbied to halt British deportations to Sri Lanka because of research it says proves the torture of Tamils continues. He is in London, England.

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Ellen Saenger.


Other segment from today's show:

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