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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scott Morrison's plan blocked by High Court

The second boat of asylum seekers has been found with 153 people on board and the High Court has granted an interim injunction to block Scott Morrison's plan to hand them back to Sri Lanka. 

Solicitor George Newhouse said 48 of the 153 were named in court and the others have sought protection, even though they have no identification.

He said the group was entitled to have their allegations - claims against the Sri Lankan government - heard and processed in accordance with the law.  "The minister can't simply intercept them in the night and make them disappear" he said.  He was shocked to discover that a group of 41 people have already been returned to Sri Lanka and said they would now face criminal charges, imprisonment and torture.

Justice Susan Crennan ordered an interim injunction against any transfer until this afternoon, when the matter is set to be heard in the High Court.

It's a crime to leave Sri Lanka by an unoffical port, so people returned will be charged with illegal migration offences.  "The sentence for those who are proved to have left illegally is two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine" police spokesman Ajith Rohana said.

It seems our government has broken an international law called Refoulment which means that refugees must not be returned to their country of origin if they face human rights abuse of persecution.

We await the High Court decision with interest.