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Bid to halt deportation fails, Tamils detained on arrival in Colombo

A last-ditch attempt at halting the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka has failed.
42 men and 8 women were arrested and questioned by Sri Lankan police on arrival at Colombo airport.

There is now serious concern for the wellbeing of the deportees.

Channel 4 has obtained documents containing an admission by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to have passed on information regarding 14 asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, in breach of UK and European law, although the UKBA claim that none of those individuals have been deported.

Reports suggest that two Tamils had been removed from the list of deportees, before the flight took off.
Karim Assad, solicitor for one of the refugees told Channel 4: "The fact that my client has been taken off the flight despite the judicial decision suggests that the UKBA considers it unsafe to remove him."

Contrary to reports by various human rights groups, the UKBA believes that there has been no evidence of torture of Tamil deportees in Sri Lanka.

Shadow Foreign Minister Douglas Alexander said he was seeking assurances from William Hague that the refugees will not be tortured on their return.

"We need to be clear that the British government has done its job in ensuring that these people are not going to be tortured."
"I will be seeking assurances from William Hague that he has personally looked into the matter and is sure that torture is not going to be perpetrated and human rights abuses are not going to be committed" said Mr. Alexander, speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

See our earlier posts:

'Deportation delayed after last gasp court order' (Sep 2011)

'UK still 'complicit' in torture of Tamils' (Sep 2011)

'Delhi court halts deportation for fear of genocide'
(Sep 2011)