Archived News Item

Sri Lankan Refugee Freed!

‘A’ offers a prayer of thanks


In last month’s Just Mercy we featured a petition initiated by Elizabeth Young RSM, seeking the release of a Sri Lankan refugee who had spent 11 years in detention. Last week we heard the joyous news that  the man has now been granted a visa and is freed. This follows more than 25,000 signatures to the petition. 


I recently shared the story of a friend (‘A’), who had been assessed as a refugee yet still incarcerated after 11 years.


Well, now we can thank God for very good news: he has been given a visa and freed from detention!!!


Let us then celebrate with him. Here is A’s message:


“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.”

Special thanks to Sister Elizabeth, who started the petition. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my lawyer, Ms. Sanmati Verma, and her legal team: Bethany Rose, Guy Gilbert and Anthony Krohn, who appeared for me in the case. To Claudia Graham and Dianne Reynolds, who assisted me and my family in so many ways. And to Minister Alan Tudge, and to all those who signed the petition and encouraged me in many ways.

May God bless you all! God bless!”


I also had a list to thank for this outcome, for the combined pressure on the immigration department for his release. But I am humbled to think that I forgot the one first thought of by A: the Minister who allowed his release. Here are those I wish to thank: his legal representatives, petition signers (over 25,000!), petition promoters, media storytellers, those who contacted the Minister, other MPs who investigated, and everyone for their prayers. So I would like to add the Minister and those who facilitated his freedom.


It was about 11 years and 5 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.


YOU have been part of this journey and it has made such a difference. As was quoted in an article by Meredith Secomb (unknown author):


To see small matters
And to see that small matters
Are not small matters.


Whether your part in this journey was large or small, every action or prayer mattered greatly in the scheme of things. It is not a small matter to care about those who are treated unjustly by this country and we continue to work and pray for all of them.


Thank you once again and God bless you generously,


Elizabeth Young RSM


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