A TAMIL asylum seeker has won a last-minute reprieve from deportation, hours before he was due to be flown to Sri Lanka.
The Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday overturned an earlier court decision to reject an application to stop his removal.
In a dramatic day, the man, in his 40s and known as ''Anjan'', attempted to take his life early on Wednesday morning.
But his injuries were not considered serious and he remained in detention.
Protesters gathered to blockade the Maribyrnong detention centre in a bid to stop Immigration Department officers taking the man to the airport.
But the court ordered that the man remain in Australia, in a decision also expected to prevent the deportation of several other failed asylum seekers at least for a month.
Another Tamil man held at the Villawood detention centre in Sydney is believed to have been told he faces removal from Australia.
George Newhouse, the solicitor representing Anjan, argued the risk of harm to him if he were sent back to his homeland had not been assessed according to changes to the Migration Act earlier this year.
''The considerations are broader under the new test than under the old rules, before the pre-March 2012 changes,'' Mr Newhouse said.
The injunction is until 72 hours after the court delivers its judgment in a similar case to be heard by the Federal Court in November.
Mr Newhouse said the Tamil man still had an arguable case in relation to Australia's complementary protection obligations.
But he was ''not at liberty to discuss'' why the decision was overturned.
An Immigration Department spokeswoman confirmed the man had engaged in self harm, and said the incident did not affect the outcome of his claim.
She said paramedics treated him on-site for minor injuries and that he had ongoing access to mental health support, including psychologists, mental health nurses and counsellors.
The man arrived in Australia two years ago, and had said his brother was a separatist Tamil Tiger fighter in Sri Lanka. Last week, he was given his deportation orders after he had exhausted legal appeals for protection and refused to sign them.
Tamil community advocate Aran Mylvaganam said a security guard at Maribyrnong detention centre, where the man is being held, had told him the news of the injunction and moved him to a private room.
For the past two days, Mr Mylvaganam said the man had called him hourly to ask him if he can stop his deportation.
''One of the things that he's told me is he'd be killed if he's sent back to Sri Lanka so hearing this news … he'll be very happy.''
Earlier on Wednesday about 30 people linked arms in a line outside the Hampstead Road exit of the centre.