Tamil Couple Changed Names, Lied About Identities, Immigration Board Says

Tamil couple changed names, lied about identities, immigration board says

Marten Yousseff, Vancouver
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 10:17PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 10:30PM EDT

A Tamil woman and her husband, who is alleged to be an owner of the migrant vessel Sun Sea, lied about and changed their names, the Immigration[] and Refugee Board says.

The woman was undergoing her fourth round of detention review hearings at the IRB on Thursday and has been in custody because the Canada Border Services Agency has not verified her identity.

Tamil smugglers charged $50,000

The young womans husband is being held in segregation at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre and, according to his legal counsel, is under investigation for human smuggling. Neither can be identified because of a publication ban by the IRB to protect their refugee application process.

CBSA counsel Ron Yamauchi said in the hearing Thursday that the woman had been using a different name, but confessed to her real identity on Sept. 15. Mr. Yamauchi added that CBSA is analyzing her national identity card, baptismal certificate and marriage certificate. The woman sat at the edge of her seat during the hearing, speaking only to remind the adjudicator that she is pregnant.

IRB adjudicator Geoff Rempel reminded her that CBSA provides her health care while she is in custody.

In his concluding arguments, Mr. Rempel said the woman and her husband tried to conceal their real identities for about a month after the ships arrival on Aug. 13.

And you were insisting that you were not familiar with [the womans real surname] and didnt know anyone named that. So that lead to concerns about lack of cooperation up to that point, said Mr. Rempel, who ordered her continued detention.

Fiona Begg, the womans counsel, argued that it was her husbands decision to change the last name and the woman was merely following his instructions. Ms. Begg further added that her client submitted documents to CBSA in her maiden name and not her married name because she was only recently married.

In terms of the documents that she provided to the minister, there has been no attempt to hide her identity, said Ms. Begg.

Mr. Yamauchi said that the womans family in Sri Lanka is sending additional documents to verify her identity and clearing the matter up could take four more weeks. The woman is due for another detention review hearing on Nov. 10.

Her husband in the meantime, continues to be detained on the grounds that his identity has yet to be established. His next detention hearing is on Nov. 1.

Since the arrival of 492 Tamils at CFB Esquimalt, 56 have been ordered released by the IRB. CBSA has challenged at least nine of those cases in federal court.

Some of the released men and women have gone to Toronto to be with family members.


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