Australia frees Lankan refugee

A Sri Lankan refugee accused by Australia’s security agency ASIO of having links to Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tigers separatists and held for almost four years in Australian immigration detention has been released after the security agency rescinded its own assessment, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today.

The decision comes of the eve of a High Court challenge to the Rudd government’s policy of indefinite detention, centred on Tamil woman Ranjini, held indefinitely with her three children.

The outcome could see the release of almost 50 refugees deemed a security threat and held without right to appeal or know the secret evidence against them.

The man, 26, whom Fairfax has chosen not to identify, walked free from the Broadmeadows detention centre.

He arrived by boat in 2009 after fleeing Sri Lanka’s civil war and was found to have a well-founded fear of persecution but was later deemed a security threat by ASIO.

The government does not permit a visa for refugees with adverse assessments from ASIO but they cannot be returned home.

Refugees cannot challenge the secret ASIO finding, although after backbench pressure Labor asked a retired Federal Court judge to review the cases. This is only the fourth time ever ASIO has withdrawn its assessment.

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