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Tamil refugee was child soldier trainer

6 September 2013 05:23 am - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Tamil refugee in Australia Ranjini admitted to having trained child soldiers during Sri Lanka's civil war in a secret Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) report used to justify her indefinite detention in Australia.

She also told Australian immigration officials she rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the separatist Tamil Tigers and fought two battles in the late 1990s against Sri Lankan forces.

But the mother of three who arrived by boat in 2010 has never been charged with a crime and in the High Court she has challenged her incarceration without prospect of release.

ASIO also concedes it never sought answers about training children as fighters before making its assessment, despite interviewing her after she was judged to have legitimate claim as a refugee.

Ranjini has since insisted that after running away from home to join the Tigers as an 11-year-old she only led girls the same age as her.
Tamil refugee Ranjini and her baby boy Paari

The stunning claims - the first detail of why Ranjini has been judged a threat to Australian national security - emerged in court documents presented on Wednesday to the High Court.

Ranjini, 34, has no right to challenge the ASIO finding that she would continue to support the Tamil Tigers from Australia, even though in 2009 the militant group was crushed.

Lawyer David Manne said the High Court has been asked to rule whether the government's decision to hold her in detention ''possibly forever'' was lawful.

''She has never been charged, tried or convicted,'' he said.

Ranjini is the most well-known of a group of 47 refugees held in immigration detention but not permitted a visa to live in Australia.

Ranjini insists she has given up the cause of Tamil independence in Sri Lanka and wants to focus on raising her children - including a boy born in January while in detention.

But a review of the case by retired federal court judge Margaret Stone, delivered in July but not made public until now, was scathing, finding Ranjini's claims ''self-serving and implausible''.

The ASIO assessment of Ranjini's honesty is completely redacted in the Stone report.

Ranjini did not seek to hide her Tigers' membership from Australian immigration officials after fleeing Sri Lanka, where she feared persecution and possible rape.

She told officials her then husband - known as ''Akbar'', killed in a 2006 battle - was a bodyguard for feared Tigers commander Prabhakaran and led fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

She admitted to using machineguns and AK-47s, being trained in karate, but not in the use of bombs or explosives.

An extensive investigation of her refugee claims found she was ''heavily indoctrinated'' into the Tigers and while her story included some discrepancies - such as initially claiming she fought in 2007-08 - she was ''forthright'' and ''a generally credible witness''.

The Stone review also includes a similar mistake, stating Ranjini finished school in 2007. Asked on Thursday, Ms Stone's office said 1997 was the correct date.

Ranjini was found to be a refugee as a ''widowed single mother … at risk of continued violence'' and released in 2011, living in Melbourne where she married and became pregnant before being whisked back into detention in Sydney in April last year when ASIO made its finding.
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A heavily censored copy of Ms Stone's report said in a December 2011 interview that Ranjini gave ASIO officers ''a significant amount of information'' about her 17 years with the Tigers.

ASIO officers assured Ranjini this would not affect her status as a refugee.

But the disclosures have counted against her prospect of living in Australia, with ASIO later deciding she ''remains strongly ideologically supportive'' of the Tigers' violent cause and ''likely to engage in acts prejudicial to Australia's security''.(The Murray Valley Standard)

  Comments - 17

  • SL Friday, 06 September 2013 11:10 AM

    Hay Ranjith Sivar, When posing in a Sinhala name at least try to write it properly. There is a saying that you can't hide the stripes of a tiger even if you change the forest!

    leena Saturday, 07 September 2013 07:05 AM

    Yeah, because that's not Pillay's job ?? What did you think she was supposed to do

    kalu nangi Saturday, 07 September 2013 06:25 AM

    Obviously not. But now that she has a child, she may be realizing how mothers would have suffered over the loss of their children.

    Will D. Harman Friday, 06 September 2013 02:22 PM

    Did she have any consideration for other young children she conscripted by force into terrorist activity.

    Suq Madique Friday, 06 September 2013 12:16 PM

    True....even now we live in harmony with the tamils in Colombo. Its those living abroad who still have a chip on their shoulders.

    wallippuwa Friday, 06 September 2013 11:40 AM

    Let she live her life as normal. We Sri Lankans are ready to forgive and pardon for what they did for our motherland.

    SunethTRP Friday, 06 September 2013 11:40 AM

    Ind, you are right in one and wrong in another. We have been living with Tamils peacefully for decades. True. But only until 1956, when the Sinhala only act was enacted. Then followed the 'Standardization' of university admissions somewhere in mid-1970's. These sowed the seeds of discord and then we crystallized it with the racial riots in July 1983. I had neighbors and very close friends who ended up in refugee camps 30 years ago today, because of the July 1983. It was that incident that swelled the ranks of LTTE.

    Monoj’s comments above are poignant. He is right. We need to put this past, reconcile and live together. Sri Lanka is for all (my opinion; Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Vedas…. . Sri Lanka should be pluralistic and secular, for its rightful place as a paradise.

    Srilankan Friday, 06 September 2013 11:12 AM

    The problem is not with the innocent Tamils live in SL or elsewhere but the racist ideologist in Tamil upper class including TNA in locally and the Tamil Nadu politicians.

    ANTON Friday, 06 September 2013 06:10 AM


    PRASANNAJIT Friday, 06 September 2013 10:31 AM

    KP and the other big guns of LTTE go scot free and only the small sprats get caught.

    Nathan Friday, 06 September 2013 08:24 AM

    It is Australian government's moral obligation to consider her case sympathetically for the sake of her two children.

    Ranjith Silvar Friday, 06 September 2013 07:26 AM

    The facts have been covered for the advantage of the Australian Government who claim the Right for Information as a human right. What is right when hiding the truth?

    ind Friday, 06 September 2013 07:00 AM

    We have being living peacefully with Tamils for decades. The war was only between LTTE and Army, not with Tamils. Still we have no issue with innocent Tamils.

    Ramani Friday, 06 September 2013 06:43 AM

    Will she form a new separatist group in Australia by using her past experience?

    ambika Friday, 06 September 2013 06:35 AM

    yes accountable as war crimes

    manoj Friday, 06 September 2013 06:31 AM

    We have won the war but it's really not working for us right now. I think now we need to extend the hand of love and friendship according to our Buddhist ideologies to all Tamils in the work. Hate for hate does not work. They may be LTTE sympathizers and what not but i think we should seriously change our approach when it comes to these matters.

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