Tortured Tamil given asylum in U.S. after 7 years in detention

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 October 2008, 12:26 GMT]
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California announced Wednesday an immigration victory for Ahilan Nadarajah, an ethnic Tamil farmer who, after being tortured in his native Sri Lanka, sought asylum in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in the U.S. held him for nearly seven years, first in immigration jail and later under electronic monitoring because of secret, fake evidence accusing him of being a 'terrorist'.

"My quest for freedom has ended happily, after almost seven years," Nadarajah said. "When I was in detention, I almost lost hope in this country, but today I can say freedom is no lie here. I thank the United States for giving me freedom," ACLU said in its website. "Nadarajah's ordeal began in 1997, when Sri Lankan Army soldiers battling the insurgent group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) arrested him and accused him of belonging to the group. They beat him, hung him upside down, pricked his toenails and burned him with cigarettes. A bribe from his family made possible his release four months later, but soldiers arrested him again in 2000 and 2001. Each time they tortured him further, holding his head inside a bag full of gasoline until he lost consciousness and beating him with plastic bags full of sand. After his third release, Nadarajah's family paid to have him smuggled out of Sri Lanka. He arrived in Mexico in October 2001, and U.S. immigration officials arrested him days later, when he tried to cross into the United States," the ACLU further said in its website. Nadarajah's bureaucratic nightmare ended when the U.S. Attorney General recently declined to review a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals in his case. As a result, Nadarajah will soon receive refugee status. In a year, he will be eligible for a green card, and in five years, he can become a U.S. citizen. Also, he now can travel to visit his parents, who live as refugees in southern India after having escaped violence in Sri Lanka. Ahilan Arulanantham, the ACLU/SC director for immigrants' rights and national security who represented Nadarajah, said this case shows how our anti-terrorism bureaucracy can destroy the lives of innocent people. "This man came to the United States because he believed that this country would free him from the horrific mistreatment he suffered as a Tamil in Sri Lanka," Arulanantham said. "Instead, through no fault of his own, ICE officials subjected him to indefinite imprisonment based on secret evidence."

 

Latest 15 Reports
22.10.17 21:55   Photo
Colombo seizes more lands for Sinhala colonisation in Trincomalee through engineering Tamil-Muslim divide in East
21.10.17 21:46  
Unitary constitution imposing choice irrelevant to fundamentals needs rejection by Tamils
20.10.17 07:02  
Jaffna University students boycott classes against manipulative justice of genocidal Sri Lanka
19.10.17 17:11   Photo
Sirisena disappoints student leaders, Cooray humiliates families of hunger-striking prisoners
18.10.17 23:45  
Eastern Provincial Land authority discriminates Tamils
17.10.17 18:46   Photo
Paramilitary operative employed at Cooray's secretariat in Jaffna harasses public servants
16.10.17 07:15   Photo
UN Refugee agency ignorant of stranded Tamil refugees in Indonesia
15.10.17 19:12  
Tamil fisherman rammed by intruding Sinhala fishermens’ boat, fishing disputes escalate in Jaffna
14.10.17 07:34   Photo
Tamil protesters confront Maithiripala Sirisena in Jaffna
13.10.17 17:40   Photo
North at standstill, Sampanthan not to accompany Sirisena to Jaffna
12.10.17 23:35  
SL military postpones land release for 2 years as UN awarded Colombo with 2 more years in Geneva
11.10.17 23:48   Photo
20 Tamil organisations to lay siege to SL Governor's office on Friday
10.10.17 22:05   Photo
SL ‘Manipulative Justice’ exposed once again in Tamil political prisoners’ case: Sivapalan
09.10.17 22:09  
Protests gain momentum as hunger-striking political prisoners’ health deteriorates
08.10.17 23:00   Photo
SL constitutional discourse seen coupled with ‘Vision 2025’ policy of genocidal Sri Lanka
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=27077