Tamil man self-harms as deportation looms

A Tamil man set to be deported from Australia today has attempted to take his own life.

Around 50 protesters have gathered outside the Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne’s west in a bid to block Immigration authorities from sending the 42-year-old back to Sri Lanka.

The man was given his marching orders this month after failing in his bid for asylum.

A last minute bid for a court injunction last night to stop the deportation also failed.

The man, who arrived in Australia in February 2010, claimed his brother was a separatist Tamil Tiger fighter, killed in the bloody decades-long campaign for independence in Sri Lanka.

Early this morning an ambulance was called to the detention centre after the man attempted to take his life.

A spokesman for the Immigration department confirmed an act of self-harm had occurred and the man had been treated on site. He remains in the detention centre.

”These sort of activities don’t affect the outcome of the person’s protection claim,” the spokesman said.

Tamil community advocate Aran Mylvaganam, who is among the protesters outside the centre, said he received a call at 5.15am from another detainee inside the centre alerting him to the man’s plight.

”I don’t know whether his aim was to hurt himself enough to stop them taking him away or whether he was trying to end his life,” Mr Mylvaganam said.

The department spokesman said the wounds were not serious.

The case follows the deportation of Tamil man Dayan Anthony in July, who was returned to Sri Lanka by Australian immigration authorities despite a last minute appeal to the United Nations. (Sydney Morning Herald)