Tamil refugees challenge Oz security intelligence ruling

Melbourne, Oct. 2 (ANI): Tamil refugees from the Oceanic Viking are challenging their Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) rejections in court, paving the way for their eventual resettlement in Australia.

The ASIO is the principal federal domestic internal intelligence, counter-intelligence and security agency of Australia.

According to The Age, the court challenge continues a political saga plaguing successive Labor governments and casts doubt on the quality of the spy agency's work in assessing other asylum seekers.

ASIO assessments in immigration matters cannot be challenged in Australian courts. But the Oceanic Viking refugees are an exception because the government gave them "special purpose visas" to hasten an end to a diplomatic fallout with Indonesia and bring them to Christmas Island.

The standoff began in October last year when former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, turned 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to Indonesia in an Australian customs boat that they refused to get off.

The two men and a woman were given special visas to travel to Christmas Island and can now contest the outcomes of their security checks at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal because of them.

The Age met two of the Tamils, Shanmugarayah Sasikanthan and Sinnathurai Yasikaran in detention on Christmas Island. Mr Sasikanthan had been a gunrunner for the Tamil Tigers and deemed a genuine refugee by the UN.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the development highlighted the government's farcical approach to the Oceanic Viking.

The woman involved in the court challenge is fighting a second battle.

The mother of three is challenging a looming return to Christmas Island, after she was brought to the mainland to give birth last Saturday.

The Human Rights Commission must now decide whether the island has adequate facilities for children.

In previous reports, the commission has said it does not. The mother, her husband, and children aged six, three and one week are all in residential detention at Villawood in Sydney. (ANI)

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