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ASIO letter reveals why refugees deemed threat

17 April 2013 09:38 am - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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ASIO has told a group of Sri Lankan detainees that it regards them as a threat to national security because some of them have a history of violence in their homeland.

In a letter obtained by the ABC, ASIO says the group, held in a Melbourne detention centre, remains ideologically supportive of the Tamil Tigers.

The refugees received the letter 10 days ago. Until now its contents have been secret.

Since receiving the letters, some of the 50 Sri Lankans have gone on a hunger strike.

The letter is one of many sent to people in detention who had been granted political asylum but had still been held in detention for up to four years.

One Sri Lankan man was assessed as being strongly ideologically supportive of Tamil Tiger separatists and their aim of independence through the use of violence.

The letter says ASIO believes he is likely to engage in acts prejudicial to Australia's security if granted a permanent protection visa.

But Trevor Grant from the Tamil Refugee Council has challenged that view.

"The Tamil Tigers no longer exist," he said.

"They were wiped out in the war that ended in 2009.

"The other thing is that the Tamil Tigers have never been proscribed a terrorist organisation in Australia."

Supporters say the refugees should have the right to challenge ASIO's rulings in court, something they have not yet been allowed to do.

Among them, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who was banned from visiting the group.

"If an Australian citizen was considered a terrorist threat, there would be a due process under the law that they would go through," she said.

"There wouldn't be just an automatic locked up, throw away the key."

Mr Grant says those on the hunger strike are very weak.

"I talk to them quite regularly and they go through periods when they're very, very down," he said.

Four of them have been hospitalised since they began their hunger strike.

Nobody from the Federal Government was available to comment. (ABC News)

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  Comments - 8

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  • saman Wednesday, 17 April 2013 10:11 AM

    If they are genuine refugees running away from the fear of persecution, they should have gone to Tamil Nadu where Jayalalitha is waiting at the docks with the red carpet!

    Suq Madique Wednesday, 17 April 2013 10:15 AM

    Australia is doing the right thing because no matter docile the refugees are now, sooner or later their violent streaks will emerge and start causing disruptions down-under. .

    lkboy Wednesday, 17 April 2013 10:45 AM

    of course, so true. so true.

    SB Wednesday, 17 April 2013 11:28 AM

    Australia should take them and make model citizens of all who want to take a boat ride! Less problems for those who want to live in SL.

    Madhawa Wednesday, 17 April 2013 12:04 PM

    god bless mother lanka, truth will win oneday.

    Grace Wednesday, 17 April 2013 12:09 PM

    At last your people have started understanding the truth. It is not too late.

    Miracle Child Wednesday, 17 April 2013 12:09 PM

    we don't argue with you ...
    pls keep them there..

    Penny Thursday, 18 April 2013 12:32 AM

    Some Aussies are still dumb to fight against their own government to protect HR of terrorist supporters. It seems that non proscription of LTTE is back firing on Aussies......Way to go mate!!!!


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