First migrant ordered deported
A Tamil asylum seeker who admitted he was a member of a terrorist organization was ordered deported on Tuesday to Sri Lanka.
He is the first of the 492 people who arrived last year aboard the MV Sun Sea found inadmissible to Canada.
He remains incarcerated at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.
Melissa Anderson, with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Board, said the man admitted he was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a terrorist organization banned in Canada.
Obliterated in 2009, the Tigers fought a 30-year-long civil war to create an independent state in northern Sri Lanka.
Although he initially denied being member of the LTTE, the man, Anderson said, eventually revealed last November that he joined the organization, almost by accident.
The man completed the Tiger’s basic training, wore a uniform of green shorts and a T-shirt, had sworn an oath, learned to fire a rifle and even had an LTTE nickname.
After training, the man was recruited to join the Sea Tigers, the LTTE’s naval wing, but was injured during an attack on a Sri Lanka navy ship.
Robin Bajer, the man’s lawyer, argued his client was pressured to join the organization at age 16 by a group of friends.
“He had no real intention of joining, but once he was in, he was stuck,” Bajer said in an interview after the admissibility hearing.
His client attempted to leave the Tigers in 1996, but was caught and punished to a year of manual labour.
“He left them 14 years ago. He hasn’t had any contact with them since,” Bajer added.
The man is now investigating two options to remain in Canada. They include applying to the Federal Court of Appeal for a judicial review or asking for a pre-removal risk assessment, which will consider whether he is at risk of persecution if deported to Sri Lanka.
Bajer said his client faces a significant risk of torture if returned to Sri Lanka and does not poses a security threat to Canada.
“I will certainly be arguing that strongly,” he added.
As of Wednesday, 377 migrants who arrived on the MV Sun Sea have been released, leaving 66 in custody.
Of the 66, four are women and 62 are men.
Thirty-one of them still face admissibility hearings. Besides the man who was ordered deported on Tuesday, only one other hearing has been held. That migrant was ordered for release after the Immigration and Refugee Board found he posed no security threat to Canada.