Author Topic: Asylum seeker who set himself on fire spent 18 months in limbo  (Read 177 times)

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Offline EC

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A 29-year-old asylum seeker who died after setting himself on fire has been named as Leo Seemanpillai, a Tamil man who lived in Geelong, Victoria.

Seemanpillai died of his injuries after burns to 90% of his body and is the second Sri Lankan asylum seeker to have self-immolated in Australia this year.

The Tamil Refugee Council said Seemanpillai had set himself alight on Saturday evening and died on Sunday morning at Alfred Hospital.

Seemanpillai arrived in Darwin by boat in January 2013 and was said to be suffering depression for more than a year. He was being held in community detention on a bridging visa with work rights. His refugee claim was still being processed, Scott Morrison said on Monday.

“I don’t think we’re in any position or, frankly, I don’t think anyone else is in a position, to draw any conclusions about what is in a person’s mind in that situation,” the immigration minister said, adding that the asylum seeker had been receiving fortnightly mental health work assistance.

Aran Mylvaganam, of the Tamil Refugee Council, was at the Seemanpillai’s bedside when he died.

“Like thousands of others, Leo had been waiting for more than 18 months to be told if he could stay in Australia and be safe from persecution,” Mylvaganam said. “Gradually his psychological state deteriorated and he tipped over the edge.”

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