Mentally ill Tamil to spend life in Australian detention, says ABC

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 August 2012, 10:47 GMT]
A Tamil man, whose name is being withheld, currently under detention in Christmas island, has been deemed to be a security risk by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) and his refugee status is in limbo, reports ABC in its The World Today program. The man was arrested by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) in about 2004 and was tortured for a considerable length of time during which the man received brain injury, according to psychiatrist, Neil Philips. While there is a pending challenge to ASIO's assessment in the Australian Courts, ABC says, in the current circumstances where Australians are sensitive of the flood of refugees arriving in Australia, the man will likely spend his life in detention.

Phillips told ABC that the Tamil man "was picked up by the Sri Lankan army some years ago in the, possibly about eight years ago, and when he was travelling with his mother and he was taken away and he was tortured for a considerable length of time and he's got some brain injury but he's got a psychosis that comes and goes with that and his mood is unstable and he's disinhibited."

While the man has been accepted as a refugee, but according to his lawyer he was interviewed by ASIO officers without representation and deemed a security risk. Neil Philips is questioning how he could be properly assessed by ASIO given his mental state, ABC said.

The man had psychiatric disorder even prior to his torture by the Sri Lanka Army, and was admitted to Colombo's mental instititution as early as 2003. The medical documents also say he is incoherent, suffering grandiose delusions and auditory hallucinations, and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Another document apparently from Vavuniya General Hospital says he suffers from 'recurrent depressive disorder with psychiatric features,' ABC reported.

The Tamil man's attorney, George Newhouse, says he provided ASIO with a history of Mr P's medical background last year but the ASIO reaffirmed their decision.


External Links:
ABC: Advocates say refugee in limbo was recognised as mentally ill in Sri Lanka

 

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