Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A man who sought refuge in an Abbotsford, B.C., temple to avoid deportation must stay in a detention centre until he's sent back to India next week, the Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled.
Supporters for Laiber Singh were out in force Wednesday outside the venue where the immigration detention review was being held in Vancouver.
The board said on Wednesday Laiber Singh is a flight risk who won't co-operate with the deportation order if he's allowed to leave detention.
Singh, 48, was arrested at Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford General Hospital Monday night after leaving the Kalgidhar Darbar Sahib Society temple to seek medical attention.
Singh, absent from Wednesday's hearing because of his medical condition, will now be deported on Aug. 20, the board said.
He entered Canada on a false passport four years ago, then applied for refugee status, claiming political persecution if he was sent back to India. His application was rejected and he was ordered deported on July 8.
He took sanctuary at the Abbotsford Sikh temple before he could be deported.
A large group of Singh's supporters showed up at the building in downtown Vancouver where the hearing was held to protest the Canada Border Services Agency's "unfair" arrest methods.
Swarn Singh Gill, the leader of the Kalgidhar Darbar Sahib Society temple in Abbotsford, B.C., said on Wednesday it was unfair to arrest the ailing Laiber Singh in hospital.
"The [Sikh] community is very upset right now," Swarn Singh Gill, the temple leader, said Wednesday. He said arresting the man while he is in hospital with medical problems was unfair. Singh is paralyzed and requires dialysis after suffering an aneurysm last year.
Immigration officials chose not to enter the Sikh temple to carry out the deportation. Singh was only taken into custody after he left the temple to seek medical attention.
Zool Suleman, Singh's lawyer, said Wednesday there is little hope for his client now; the last possibility would be to file for a federal stay of removal.
"There's just barely enough time. The earliest this can be heard would be Friday or on Monday morning, but the removal arrangements might well be effective by then," Suleman told CBC News.
"I think this is something we'll consider within the next few hours in terms of whether we're going to go forward with a federal court matter."
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