ASIO reverses adverse finding against Tamil refugee detained for four years

ASIO reverses adverse finding against Tamil refugee detained for four years

      A Tamil refugee detained for more than four years in immigration detention as a security threat is now free.

      ASIO has unexpectedly withdrawn its secret assessment that the man - who lost one leg below the knee in a bomb blast during Sri Lanka's civil war - could pose a risk to Australia's national security.

      It is the second time this year ASIO has changed its assessment. The Rudd government has used adverse ASIO assessments to keep almost 50 recognised refugees in indefinite detention. The group, mostly Tamils, have no right to appeal the secret ASIO findings or know the detail or the allegations against them.


      The man, 52, was among the early groups of Tamils to arrive in Australia by boat in June 2009 soon after the end of the Sri Lankan war.

      He had already been found by the United Nations refugee agency to have a well-founded fear of persecution and suffered post traumatic stress disorder resulting from torture. In May 2010 Australia recognised his refugee status.

      But ASIO made what is known as an adverse security assessment in the case and the man was held for more than two years on Christmas Island before being moved to Sydney's Villawood detention centre.

      Daniel Flitton

      Daniel Flitton is senior correspondent for The Age covering foreign affairs and politics. He is a former intelligence analyst for the Australian government and was at one-time a university lecturer specialising in international relations.

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