Australian activist deported from Singapore

An 81-year-old Australian human rights activist has accused Singapore authorities of holding him in a cell without food, drink and toilet facilities for nearly five hours before deporting him.

Brian Senewiratne, a long-time critic of Colombo over its treatment of Tamils, told AFP Tuesday he flew to Singapore on December 14 en route to Malaysia to give talks on the plight of refugees from Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

Senewiratne said when he reached immigration, he was led to a "10 foot by 10 foot" room where he waited for four and a half hours without basic facilities before being placed on a return flight to Brisbane.

"They (immigration officers) didn't let me use my mobile phone. Then I said let me at least get the number of the people who are waiting for me in Singapore. They said no you can't switch on your computer," Senewiratne said.

"So I had no computer, no passport and no mobile phone," the doctor added.

Senewiratne said an officer had told him before he was led under police escort to the plane, "You came from Brisbane and to Brisbane you will go, you are being deported under armed guard."

In an emailed reply to AFP queries, the ICA said it had conducted an investigation of the incident and "found Dr Brian Senewiratne's account of his experience at Singapore's Changi Airport to be untrue".

ICA "issued him with a Notice of Refusal of Entry within two and a half hours of his arrival," the agency stated.

"At no time did he request food, water or access to use toilet facilities, which would not have been denied to him if requested."

Senewiratne said he was contemplating legal action against Singapore authorities regarding his treatment and deportation, and would write to Australian foreign minister Bob Carr to complain.

More than 16,770 boatpeople have arrived in Australia in 2012, with Sri Lankans making up the biggest group, accounting for more than 6,360.

Singapore had in November deported another Australian, clergyman James Blundell Minchin, for "interfering in... domestic politics."

Minchin had shortly before his deportation given an interview to a Singapore opposition party where he discussed his book "No Man Is An Island - A Study of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew" which was published in 1987.

Lee is Singapore's founding father and a veteran politician of the ruling People's Action Party. He served as Singapore's prime minister from 1959 to 1990 and is the father of the current leader Lee Hsien Loong.

  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day 13 hours ago
    The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base.

  • Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph 14 hours ago
    Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph

    In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula One tracks at 220 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

  • Ken Block plays soccer in his 650-hp rally car, because "Footkhana" 16 hours ago
    Ken Block plays soccer in his 650-hp rally car, because "Footkhana"

    We've seen Ken Block slide his 650 hp Ford Fiesta rally car through the streets of San Fransisco and, more recently, around Miley Cirus' wrecking ball. But how he is he at playing soccer while doing these things? It turns out, quite good. Welcome to the world of Footkhana, where Ken Block faces his toughest challenge yet — defeat Neymar, Jr., a Brazilian soccer football star, in a head-to-head battle of fancy footwork.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

  • Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore
    Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.