Tamil self-immolator shows recovery signs

An asylum seeker who set himself on fire in Sydney is recovering in hospital.

A Tamil man who doused himself with petrol and set himself alight after being refused settlement in Australia is showing signs of recovery.

But he faces a long stint in hospital before his expected deportation.

The man, in his 20s, suffered burns to 70 per cent of his body when he set himself alight near a shipyard in the inner west Sydney suburb of Balmain on the night of April 9.

The man, whose first name is Janarthanan, was transferred to Concord hospital in a critical condition.

"Friends that visited him said ... at the weekend he opened his eyes," Tamil Refugee Council convenor Trevor Grant told AAP.

"There are good signs now that he will survive."

Mr Grant said Janarthanan was expected to be in hospital for at least three months.

"We very much hope he is allowed to stay here," he said.

Janarthanan was in July 2013 found not to be owed protection - a decision which was confirmed on appeal by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) this month.

He had been living in Australia on a bridging visa for two years before being told he would be deported to Sri Lanka in a letter from the Australian immigration department.

The rejection letter and a suicide note were reportedly found in Janarthanan's backpack, saying he would rather die in Australia than die in Sri Lanka.

Mr Grant said Janarthanan's mother and brother had been granted visas to visit him in hospital with members of Australia's Tamil community helping the family with travel costs.

The immigration department has "no current plans" to deport Janarthanan, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told AAP.

"The current focus is on ensuring the individual receives the medical treatment he requires," she said.

"The department has been liaising with the individual's family, friends and service provider."

2 min read
Published 14 April 2014 at 5:41pm
Source: AAP