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‘Dozens’ of Tamil deportees given last-minute reprieve

At least 12 Tamil asylum seekers due to be deported from the UK on Wednesday were taken off a flight heading to Sri Lanka after a senior judge issued a last minute injunction, reported the Independent.

The last minute injunction was issued after a judge accepted that Tamil asylum seekers who are deported to Sri Lanka from the UK with allegations against them from the Sri Lankan government of a real or perceived link to the LTTE, face torture. The judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, also accepted that those who have been previously tortured also face torture upon their return to Sri Lanka and should not be deported.

The ruling was made after lawyers acting for 3 asylum seekers went to the High court seeking a ban on deportations of all Tamils to Sri Lanka, for fear of risk of ill treatment on return. While Mr Justice Wilkie’s did not accept that all Tamils could not return, his decision sparked a flurry of further applications, which have resulted in at least 12 of the reported 60 deportees to have been removed from the flight to Sri Lanka.

David Mepham of Human Rights Watch commented,

It is increasingly clear that the UK needs to urgently reassess its policy on the deportation of failed Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.

An earlier injunction to halt the deportations was also filed by TAG earlier on Wednesday, based on their report “Returnees at Risk”

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