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A Sri Lankan man will get another shot at applying for asylum after the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic came to his aid, urging the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Diego to order a new hearing.

According to Courthouse News Service, Satheeskumar Annachamy fled to the United States in 2005, claiming to have been imprisoned and tortured both by the Sri Lanka army, who suspected that he was a rebel operative, and by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant group labeled a terrorist organization that for years has been at war with the country’s government.

Annachamy was detained by the Department of Homeland Security shortly after his arrival, and the federal Board of Immigration Appeals declined his request for asylum on the grounds that he had provided “material support” for a terrorist group. Annachamy argued that work he did, including digging trenches, building fences, and cooking for the Tigers was done under the threat of death for noncompliance.

In addition, Annachamy claims he was tortured by army officials, who “detained him for many weeks, interrogated him and tortured him, including beating him with weapons while he was hung upside down, inserting a stick in his rectum, placing a bag soaked in gasoline over his head and forcibly submerging his head into water.” He has said he fears he will be killed by one group or the other if forced to return to his home country.

The Ninth Circuit originally sided with the Board, declining to hear Annachamy’s appeal of their decision last year. After the ACLU and Harvard stepped in, the court agreed on Monday (August 18) to consider the case and delay Annachamy’s pending removal from the country.

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