Catholic refugee freed after 11 years

Sr Elizabeth Young RSM, who started the petition, shares news of A’s release (

A Sri Lankan Catholic who had been assessed as a refugee but was still held in immigration detention for 11 years has been granted release. Source: Catholic Outlook.

A petition organised by Sr Elizabeth Young RSM and signed by Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. calling for the release of the Sri Lankan refugee, known as "A", received more than 25,000 signatures.

In a message after his release earlier this month, A said: “Dear Australians. By the will of God and your support, I got the visa and am now, finally, a free man. I am forever indebted to you all. At this moment I am reminded of the words of God. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

He gave thanks to Sr Elizabeth for starting the petition and to his legal team for securing his release.

A’s story was detailed by The Guardian last month. He fled Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009 and arrived in Australia by boat. As the boat was registered in his name, he was charged and convicted in 2010 of “organising the bringing of groups of non-citizens into Australia”, and sentenced to five years’ jail. His convictions were quashed on appeal, but he remained in detention.

In a message to supporters Sr Elizabeth said: "It was about 11 years and five months, or 4179 days, that A was detained by our government. Throughout this time, his supporters and I have been privileged to know A; he is so incredible to have survived all of this. We have seen his strength of character, and faith in God and the goodness of people through such a trial.”


Advocates celebrate as refugee ‘A’ freed from detention (Catholic Outlook)

Sri Lankan refugee detained by Australia for 11 years despite government ruling he’s owed protection (The Guardian

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