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Burns victim ‘not deported’

Facebook: Combined Refugee Action Centre
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A Sri Lankan asylum seeker who died from self-inflicted burns had not been told he was going to be deported, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says.

And there was nothing to indicate that Leorsin Seemanpillai, 29, had any intention of taking his own life even a day he set himself alight on Saturday.

Mr Seemanpillai was living in Geelong while waiting for his application for a protection visa to be finalised.

Refugee advocates claim the Tamil feared being returned to Sri Lanka because he thought he faced persecution from authorities.

But Mr Morrison cautioned against drawing conclusions about what led to Mr Seemanpillai’s action, saying his visa application had not been finalised nor had he been told he was being deported.

“This is a terrible and tragic incident and none of us can know the mind of someone in this situation,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Mr Seemanpillai had been receiving community mental health support “for some time” and was in contact with a case worker as late as last Friday.

There was nothing to indicate during those meetings he had intended to take his own life.

But the Australian Greens say Mr Seemanpillai was clearly frightened for his life because the purpose of a temporary protection visa is to send people back home.

Mr Morrison said he was satisfied Mr Seemanpillai had received adequate assistance while on the bridging visa, with work rights and ongoing mental health support.

But a review of arrangements will be conducted and the immigration department will consider its recommendations.

Mr Seemanpillai’s father in India and friends in Australia have been notified of his death.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.