36 Sri Lankans deported, reach Colombo
London: Thirty-six Sri Lankans, including 28 Tamils, reached Sri Lanka on Friday after being deported from Britain, media reports said.
The deportation took place after the British government rejected their asylum requests, Xinhua reported.
According to the Sri Lankan Immigration and Emigration department, the 36 Sri Lankans included 28 Tamils. They reached the island nation on a special chartered flight.
Officials of the UK Border Agency accompanied the Sri Lankans on their return journey and handed them over to officers at the airport at Katunayake, close to Colombo.
The Criminal Investigations Department recorded their statements for several hours and then released them, an airport official said.
The British media said around 40 others, who were also to be sent back, had their deportation suspended by a British court. Most of them were said to be Tamils.
The failed asylum seekers were granted dramatic last-minute stays, Channel 4 reported.
Immigration lawyers ascribe the high court judges` apparent change of heart to serious concerns over Sri Lanka`s dismal human rights record and the risk that those forcibly returned face arrest and torture.
The judgements affected around half of the estimated 70-80 Tamils due to have been sent back to Sri Lanka on a government chartered flight from Stansted airport.
Two senior barristers with the London-based Renaissance Chambers, which specialises in human rights and immigration law, say the judgements are very unusual.
International rights group Human Rights Watch said this week that Britain should immediately suspend deporting Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims.
In a statement, Human Rights Watch said investigations found some such Tamils sent from Britain and other countries had been subjected to torture upon returning to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has denied allegations of abusing returnees.
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