July 08, Sydney: The government of Australia Tuesday promised the court that it would give 72 hour notice before returning a boatload of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.
Human rights lawyers have praised the government's pledge as a minor victory in a case that has raise concerns about Australia's tough immigration policy.
An emergency High Court hearing in Sydney over the fate of 153 asylum seeker intercepted at sea by Australian authorities was adjourned after the government's pledge, Reuters reported. The time period will allow the government to discuss the next steps with lawyers acting for the asylum seekers.
The government told the court hearing that the asylum seekers would remain in Australian custody, in a Customs boat on the high seas.
Human rights lawyers challenged the Australian government after Australian authorities returned 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers Sunday to Sri Lanka at high seas.
Sri Lankan police had said on Monday those 41 would be charged with leaving the country illegally and any found guilty would face "rigorous imprisonment", raising fears about rights abuses, according to Reuters.