Planned deportation takes toll on family, friends
[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The planned deportation of Mr. Manickavasagam Suresh, a Tamil activist from Canada, is taking its toll on his friends and a family. A Catholic priest who visited Mr. Suresh suffered a heart attack whilst talking to him Thursday evening. In Britain, Suresh's family are becoming increasingly concerned as the planned date, January 19, nears.
Father Xavier was visiting Mr. Suresh in prison accompanied by Mrs. Barbara Jackman Mr Suresh's lawyer, when he became violently ill and suffered a heart attack at about 8.00 pm. He has been admitted to hospital and is in intensive care.
Father Xavier is said to have become upset on seeing the tiny cell that Mr. Suresh was being kept in, and the unusually flimsy clothes and hand cuffs that he was wearing. Mr. Suresh is also said to be ill, having contracted tuberculosis in the Don Jail recently.
Mr. Suresh had been moved to a location where a 'suicide watch' could be maintained on him said sources close to his lawyers. The admission was made by Canadian officials under pressure from a Canadian judge to reveal his whereabouts, said legal sources.
Mr. Suresh's mother, Mrs. Kamala Manickavasagam is said to be distraught over the planned deportatioin and has not eaten for three days, said Mrs. Manita Gorbi, Mr. Suresh's sister.
"We are desperately worried about Suresh's deportation because we know he will be killed if he is handed over to Sri Lanka" she said.
"We have been talking to people who may have influence over those making decisions concerning my brothers future" Mrs. Gorbi said.
Yesterday, Mr. Suresh's family and some friends and supporters staged a vigil in front of the Canadian High commission in London. Suresh's mother handed over personal appeal for clemency to the Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. Roy MacClaren, PC, who met her and Mrs. Gorbi.
Mrs. Manickavasagam pleaded with the Canadian authorities to either allow her son to stay, or to be united with his family in Britain, as he was not a criminal, said Mrs. Gobi.
On Thursday, Mr. Suresh's family and some supporters staged a similar vigil outside the UNHCR office in London, calling for action from the organisation to stop the deportation. Senior UNHCR officials met the protesters and said they would inform the Ottawa office of the UNCHR of the appeal.