The man, accused of links with the vanquished Tamil Tigers, in his early 30s was taken from a Melbourne detention centre to Tullamarine airport yesterday and put on a flight to Bangkok bound for Colombo.
He is believed to be the first Tamil asylum seeker to be forced out of Australia since the latest spate of arrivals began in 2008 in the final months of Sri Lanka's brutal civil war. Other Sri Lankan asylum seekers were either sent home from Indonesia after Australia asked for their boat to be intercepted or were from the Sinhalese community.
The Tamil man – Dayan Anthony - had failed in his bid for refugee status and was refused a visa by the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, after appealing on mental health grounds.
According to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ he arrived in Australia by plane in 2010, having fled Jaffna, a former stronghold of the Tamil Tiger separatists.
His family insist he faces grave danger after Sri Lankan media published his photograph and what appeared to be an arrest warrant in his name.
The man had been living with his sister in Dandenong, in Melbourne's south-east, before being called into the Immigration Department in Melbourne last Tuesday and given a letter informing him authorities had judged him ''removable''.
The sudden news of his departure yesterday morning set off a panicked bid by refugee advocates to get a court injunction - with emails showing the man had tried for two days to send a fax from within the Maribyrnong detention centre only to find the fax machine was not working.