LynnMall terrorist medical report ‘unreliable’, officials say

Officials who initially rejected Auckland terrorist Ahamed Samsudeen’s asylum claim found inconsistencies in his story and said a medical report on him was unreliable.

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

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

But he won his case on appeal to immigration and protection court, and his 2013 ruling details the attacks he claims to have suffered in Sri Lanka, including kidnappings, beatings and burns. The court ruled yesterday that it will remove the anonymity of the case and republish its decision to grant refugee status.

A paramilitary group linked to Colonel Karuna’s Tamil Tigers Guerrilla Organization (LTTE) had been in conflict with his family for more than three decades, he learned.

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

“Because of his position he was threatened and later, in the late 1980s (before Samsudeen was born), grenades were thrown into the family home. In the early 1990s, further attacks were carried out in [his] town. The local mosque and other buildings were damaged, including a factory operated at the time by [his] mother.

“At that time, armed men affiliated with a local politician opened fire on [Samsudeen’s] house, with the intention of killing the father. The father was not at home at the time, but [his] mother and cousin [“AA”] were injured in the attack, AA fatally. This ultimately led the father to decide that the family should move. He eventually managed to get a transfer to a school near Colombo. “

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

“[Samsudeen] later learned that his father had hidden this material for a short time before becoming concerned about the risk it posed to him and his family. He tried to return them to the member, without success. Eventually, a man managed to retrieve the equipment from [his] father. The man the father gave the equipment to was killed a few weeks later. “

Samsudeen claimed that Colonel Karuna still believed his father had the material and first tried to get it back by kidnapping and beating the father. Her siblings traveled overseas to seek safety.

Samsudeen said he had been followed from the school by several men and was concerned about reports of people asking questions about him. Anonymous phone calls accused the family of being LTTE sympathizers and he changed schools, ending in 2010.

The following year, he said he was riding a motorcycle to work when a vehicle hit him. “Several men got out of the vehicle and started kicking and punching him,” the court said. “They hit him on the 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 gunmen kidnapped him and his father and tied him up and blindfolded him for two days.

“During this period [Samsudeen] was periodically strapped to a chair. Her hair was pulled back; he was slapped in the face and punched all over his body. He could hear his father screaming in pain from an adjacent room.

“On the second day, the appellant was dragged into a hallway. He was stripped and photographed in front of his father. He was cut, burned with cigarettes and beaten until he was unconscious.”

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

The court (IPT) recorded that he had access to Immigration New Zealand’s file, but the ruling did not address what the refugee officer found unreliable on a medical report, or whether the court assessed its reliability. No one represented the INZ or its refugee status unit at the hearing.

The IPT cited a clinical psychologist report that “it would be very difficult for her to have fabricated the degree of disturbance displayed during the interviews she 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 who constantly relived traumatic events.

His symptoms and conditions could make him appear “incoherent, vague or easily influenced in the face of repeated and multiple interrogations of parties in positions of power and authority”.

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

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

“For historical reasons, his family has been in the sights of Karuna and his cohort for a period that spans Karuna’s struggle against the Sri Lankan government, Karuna joining the Sri Lankan government and, more recently, Karuna from Sri Lankan government These difficulties occurred both in the family village in eastern Sri Lanka and in Colombo after the family moved.

“Superimposed on the general difficulty of living most of your life in a country torn by civil war, [Samsudeen] experienced the hardships endured by his father, himself came under the attention of unknown men, was assaulted on the way to work, forced into hiding, under constant threats, and kidnapped , physically abused and humiliated in front of his father. “

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

“The asylum application was assessed by a refugee and protection officer from the INZ Refugee Status Unit and was rejected in April 2012, as the application was found to lack credibility due to a number of inconsistencies in his account and a medical report considered unreliable. . “

He reopened his asylum claim when he began to consider whether he could be deported as a security threat in 2017.

“During the review of the individual’s refugee status, it was established that the documents he submitted in his asylum application were fraudulent. This was on the basis that evidence found on his laptop computer by police indicated that the individual had fabricated written statements from family members in support of his claim and accompanied by a medical report for himself. align with its demands. “

An appeal against the revocation of his refugee status and against his deportation because of his convictions was still pending when he launched the attack on Lynn Mall on Friday, injuring seven people. The court should have considered whether, despite the fraudulent documents, he would still be classified as a protected person who was at grave risk if returned to Sri Lanka.

The IPT issued a ruling yesterday, naming Samsudeen and ordering that the 2013 ruling be reposted with his name.

He said he made the decision over the weekend, in part because he feared some of Samusdeen’s family in Sri Lanka had been questioned since the Auckland terror attack, during which he was shot by the police.