Canada to deport Suresh

[TamilNet, Friday, 09 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Canadian government intends to deport a Tamil activist, Mr. Suresh Manickavasagam, to Sri Lanka, despite fears that his life would be at risk there, said a Tamil expatriate organization today, which called for public appeals against the move.

Mr. Suresh's lawyers were advised yesterday, that he would be deported next Tuesday (January 13), said the London-based International Federation of Tamils in a statement issued today.

Canadian immigration officials were not available for comment today.

Mr. Suresh, the coordinator of the World Tamil Movement, a Canadian Tamil expatriate organisation, was arrested on 18 October 1995. The Canadian intelligence agency (CSIS) maintains that the WTM is a front for the LTTE, and as its coordinator, Mr. Suresh was a person deemed inadmissible into Canada.

The Canadian authorities admit, however, that Mr. Suresh, who was recognized as a Convention refugee in 1991, had not broken any Canadian law.

Were he to be deported to Sri Lanka, Mr. Suresh's life would be at risk due to his political beliefs and his outspoken criticism of the Sri Lankan government's human rights record, said the IFT, noting that the UNHCR, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations had informed the Canadian authorities that Mr. Suresh should not be deported.

The Association of American Jurists have declared Mr. Manickavasagam a political prisoner.

Citing the recent massacre of Tamil political prisoners in Kalutara jail and Amnesty International's report that 600 Tamil civilians had died under torture or had been killed in Sri Lankan custody, the IFT said Mr. Suresh would face torture and ultimately death in Sri Lankan custody.

The IFT called for public appeals against the deportation to be sent to the Canadian Immigration department, the UNHCR and Amnesty International.


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