The man, one of 492 Tamils to enter British Columbia on the MV Sun Sea last August, has been ordered to remain in custody by the Federal Court.
The Immigration and Refugee Board had ordered his release but the court recently overturned that decision, ruling it was made in error, the Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
I’m not a Tamil Tiger – I only played one in the movies, the man told border officials soon after arriving in Canada.
The man – whose name cannot be published and is referred to in court documents as B157 – told the Canada Border Services Agency in September that he was only a fisherman.
He later changed his story and acknowledged he had acted in a film that promoted the LTTE. The man told border officials the film was funded by the LTTE and said he received a great deal of praise for his work.
Several of the man’s other comments also raised CBSA’s suspicions. The man initially told CBSA he didn’t owe any money to the smugglers who organized the MV Sun Sea’s journey. He later acknowledged that wasn’t true.
Despite the inconsistencies, the refugee board ordered the man released in November on a $1,000 cash bond. The adjudicator said at the time he was unsatisfied by CBSA’s argument that the man was a flight risk and unlikely to appear for future hearings. The adjudicator described the man as “completely co-operative” and “forthright” with border officials.
The federal government appealed that ruling.
In his decision, Federal Court Justice Yves de Montigny called the refugee board’s assessment of the man’s behaviour “generous” and “not borne out by the evidence.” The judge ordered the man to stay in custody.
“I am … of the view that the [board] member erred in ordering the release of the respondent,” the judge said in his Dec. 20 ruling, recently posted to the court’s website.
A refugee board spokeswoman said the man’s next detention review is scheduled for Jan. 20. A hearing on whether he is admissible to Canada is expected to be heard the same day. Admissibility hearings have also been scheduled for four other migrants.
When the MV Sun Sea was nearing Canadian shores last summer, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the voyage had been organized by members of the LTTE.
In another decision recently posted to its website, the Federal Court again overturned a refugee board ruling and ordered an MV Sun Sea migrant to stay in custody.
In that case, a man identified as B236 had been ordered released with conditions despite the fact he acknowledged helping the LTTE run errands as an alternative to paying them taxes. The man insisted he was not a LTTE cadre to border officials.
The Federal Court overturned the man’s release on Dec. 31, again ruling that the refugee board had erred.
CBSA said of the migrants still in custody, 11 remain locked up because of Federal Court stays, Globe and Mail said.