It was a great relief when Janahan Sivanathan phoned Tamil Solidarity today to say he was being released from Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, where he was facing imminent deportation back to Sri Lanka.
We would like to thank all those who rallied to our call to put pressure on the detention centre and the Home Office, and to the tireless work of Janahan’s legal team, to ensure his release. Janahan is a well-known Tamil Solidarity campaigner and we are pleased to see him free again.
But it was outrageous that he was held in detention in the first place. Having suffered years of persecution, detention and torture at the hands of the Sri Lankan regime – with severe effects on his physical and mental health – the British government locked him away again. What a disgrace! And it threatened to send him back immediately – to Sri Lanka, where he could face arrest and maybe further torture.
That is an even more likely eventuality now because of the widespread media publicity his case has received in Sri Lanka. Report after report shows that the new regime in Sri Lanka has continued where the old one left off – viciously trampling on democratic rights and oppressing Tamils and other minorities. There is little doubt that Janahan would be arrested and detained by Sri Lankan security forces should he be deported.
So, this is just the beginning of the campaign. The fight for Janahan’s right to asylum goes on.
Janahan has been told he has to report to the Home Office in Sheffield on Friday 12 June. The threat is that he could be detained again on that date. That must not happen! The risks to his health, maybe even his life, are too great.
That means we must redouble our efforts: sign our online petition here and get all your friends and families to do likewise.
Send messages – as individuals, from your trade union, student union, community group, etc. – demanding that Janahan Sivanathan is not detained, and calling for his right to asylum in Britain.
Please send these messages to:
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Home Office, email@example.com
The head of Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
And please also send us a copy: email@example.com
Finally, keep in touch to find out the latest developments and to join us in this vital campaign.
Manny Thain, on behalf of the Tamil Solidarity National Coordinating Committee