Tamil asylum seeker describes the “hell” of his voyage

July 19, 2010 Comments Off on Tamil asylum seeker describes the “hell” of his voyage

AFP – Horror tales behind Australia’s refugee influx

Cowering in the dark bowels of a leaky fishing boat, surrounded by grown men vomiting and catatonic with fear, Sri Lankan refugee Tharumalingam Punniyamoorthy was too weak to cry.

He shudders as he recalls the “hell” of his voyage, when he became one of thousands of poor Asian asylum-seekers fleeing to Australia — unwittingly setting off a public backlash which will dominate next month’s elections.

Punniyamoorthy, 30, now locked in an immigration centre, said he spent 18 days with 42 other Tamil men in the hold of a 36-foot (11 metres) trawler normally used for dried fish, with no fresh water and just a pinch of rice to eat every few days. More

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