Sunday, November 28

LynnMall terrorist medical report ‘unreliable’, officials say

Officials who initially rejected the refugee claim made by Auckland terrorist Ahamed Samsudeen found inconsistencies in his story and said a medical report on him was unreliable.

Ahmed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen appears before Auckland High Court on 7 August 2018.

Ahmed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen appears before Auckland High Court on 7 August 2018.
Photo: New Zealand Herald / Greg Bowker

The Refugee Status Unit rejected Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen’s claim in 2012.

But he won an appeal in the immigration and protection court, and its 2013 decision details the attacks it claimed to have suffered in Sri Lanka, including kidnappings, beatings and burns. The court decided yesterday that it would remove the anonymity from the case and republish its decision to grant refugee status.

A paramilitary group linked to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) guerrilla organization under Colonel Karuna had been at odds with his family for three decades, it was heard.

His father was a school principal who refused to store weapons belonging to the local Tamil Tigers at his school in the 1980s.

“As a result of his posture, he was threatened and later, towards the end of the 1980s (before Samsudeen was born) grenades were thrown at the family home. In the early 1990s, new attacks on [his] village. The local mosque and other buildings were damaged, including a factory operated at the time by [his] mother.

“Around that period, gunmen affiliated with a local politician opened fire on [Samsudeen’s] home, with the intention of killing the father. The father was not at home at the time, but [his] mother and her cousin [“AA”] they were wounded during the attack, AA fatally. This ultimately led the father to decide that the family needed to move. He finally managed to secure a transfer to a school near Colombo. “

After Karuna left the LTTE and joined the government during a ceasefire, a parliamentarian passed documents and recordings of secret meetings between Karuna and government ministers to Samsudeen’s father in 2004 for safekeeping.

“[Samsudeen] He later learned that his father had hidden such material for a short time before becoming concerned about the risk it created for him and his family. He tried to return them to the Member of Parliament, without success. Finally, a man set out to collect the material from [his] dad. The man to whom the father gave the material was murdered a few weeks later. “

Samsudeen claimed that Colonel Karuna still believed his father had the material and first tried to retrieve it by kidnapping and beating the father. His brothers traveled abroad to get to safety.

Samsudeen alleged that several men followed him home from school and that he was concerned about reports of people asking questions about him. Anonymous phone calls accused the family of sympathizing with the LTTE and changed schools, ending in 2010.

The following year, he said he was riding a motorcycle to work when a vehicle collided with him. “Several men got out of the vehicle and began to kick and punch him,” the court heard. “They hit his head with a wooden plank. The assault was finally interrupted by passers-by, who took [him] for medical treatment “.

He told the court that in 2011 armed men kidnapped him and his father, tied him up and blindfolded him for two days.

“During this period [Samsudeen] he was periodically tied to a chair. His hair was pulled; He was slapped in the face and beaten all over the body. He could hear his father screaming in pain from an adjoining room.

“On the second day, the appellant was dragged into a corridor. He was stripped naked and photographed in front of his father. They cut him up, burned him with cigarettes and beat him unconscious.”

The father and son were released and went into hiding. Samsudeen escaped to New Zealand on a student visa and applied for asylum a month later.

The court (IPT) recorded that it had access to Immigration New Zealand’s file, but the decision did not address what the refugee officer had found unreliable about a medical report, or whether the court considered whether it was reliable. No one represented INZ or its Refugee Status Unit at the hearing.

The IPT cited a report by a clinical psychologist that “it would be very difficult for him to have fabricated the degree of disturbance shown during the interviews he conducted.”

The psychologist described him as a “very distressed and damaged young man” who met the criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and was persistently re-experiencing traumatic events.

Its symptoms and conditions can make it appear “inconsistent, vague or suggestible in the face of repeated and multiple questioning by parties in positions of power and authority.”

A doctor’s examination noted scars on the jaw, possible scars on the back and ankle, and skin damage that could be the result of circular burns.

The IPT ruled that some aspects of Samsudeen’s account were superficially unsatisfactory, but said it was credible. He also said that Samsudeen should be given “the benefit of the doubt” and that his story fit with the information known about Sri Lanka at the time.

“For historical reasons, her family has been targeted by Karuna and her cohort for a period spanning Karuna’s fight against the Sri Lankan government, Karuna joined the Sri Lankan government, and more recently Karuna became part of the Sri Lankan government Such difficulties have occurred both in the family village in eastern Sri Lanka and in Colombo after the family relocation.

“Superimposed on the general difficulty of living most of your life in a country torn by civil war, [Samsudeen] he has lived through the hardships his father endured, he has been the object of attention by strangers, he has been attacked on his way to work, forced to hide, subjected to continuous threats and kidnapped, physically abused and humiliated in front of his father. dad.”

Immigration New Zealand said in a statement that it had requested a national security check on Samsudeen before his student visa was granted and that no concerns were identified.

“The refugee application was evaluated by a Protection and Refugee Officer in the INZ Refugee Status Unit and was rejected in April 2012 because it was discovered that the application lacked credibility due to a series of inconsistencies in its account and a medical report deemed unreliable. “

He reopened his refugee claim when he began investigating whether he could be deported as a security threat in 2017.

“During the review of the person’s refugee status, it was established that the documentation that he had submitted in his refugee claim was fraudulent. This was based on the evidence found on his laptop by the police indicated that the person had manufactured written statements from family members in support of their claim and embellished a medical report to align with their claims. “

An appeal against the cancellation of his refugee status and against his deportation due to his convictions was still pending when he launched the Lynn Mall attack on Friday, injuring seven people. The court would have had to consider whether, despite the fraudulent documentation, he would still be classified as a protected person facing serious risks if he was deported back to Sri Lanka.

The IPT issued a ruling yesterday, naming Samsudeen and ordering that the 2013 decision be republished under his name.

He said he had made the decision over the weekend, in part due to concerns that some members of Samusdeen’s family in Sri Lanka had been questioned since the Auckland terror attack, in which he was shot dead by police.

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