Tamil refugee claimant rejected
By TOM GODFREY
Last Updated: September 8, 2010 5:48pm
A Tamil man who claims he faces torture or death from the Tamil Tigers terror group has lost his bid for refugee status and faces deportation from Canada in a matter of weeks.
And Toronto lawyers said federal officials will use the deportation of Shandeep Sathivadivel, 24, as a test case to return to Sri Lanka most of the 492 Tamil migrants, who arrived in B.C. by ship.
In Sathivadivels case, federal officials took the position that the situation in Sri Lanka has improved since the Tamil Tigers were defeated.
Sathivadivel, who lives in Toronto, had his case dismissed Sept. 1 by a federal court. With his last-ditch effort to remain in the country rejected, he faces deportation in weeks, officials said.
Court heard he was returned to the U.S. in 2009 after trying to file a refugee claim at a Niagara Falls border crossing. He was ineligible because of an agreement between the United States and Canada which bans potential refugees from making claims in both countries.
Sathivadivel returned to Canada in Nov. 2005 through Cornwall and filed an unsuccessful attempt to get his case reviewed by Canadian officials.
In his refugee claim, Sathivadivel alleged he was detained and beaten by Tamil Tigers. He said an immigration officer bungled his case on appeal to the court.
He alleged if he returned to Sri Lanka he would face persecution and possible torture or death at the hands of the Tigers, Sri Lankan authorities and paramilitary groups.
It is unreasonable that after four years and recent positive changes in country conditions, the government, security forces or the LTTE (Tigers) would be seeking the applicant, Mr Justice Russel Zinn ruled.
The applicant provided insufficient documentation to support that he would personally be at risk or harm in Sri Lanka, he said, adding the situation was improving in that country.
Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said Ottawa will try to use the decision to return the Tamil migrants.
I have no doubt the government will be using this case to attempt to return to Sri Lanka those people who arrived by boat, Mamann said on Wednesday. The government will be making every attempt to remove them.
Last month, Lorance Lindan Packinathan, a Tamil claimant, of Toronto, was given a new refugee hearing after claiming he, too, fled here due to threats by the Tigers and paramilitary groups.
About 85% of the Tamils are accepted as refugees by the IRB.