Written by Staff Writer
08 Jul, 2014 | 10:23 pm
Five persons of the forty one alleged illegal migrants who were turned over to Sri Lankan authorities and produced before the Galle Chief Magistrate have been remanded.
The five were accused of facilitating the illegal people smuggling venture.
Of the 41 produced in court on Tuesday, 27, were released on bail of Rs.5,000 each and sureties of Rs.100,000 each. Nine children under the age of 16 who were among the group, were acquitted.
Five persons were remanded until July 14.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Lawyers in Australia have questioned the legitimacy of the Australian Government’s decision to turn over the migrants and have questioned the screening process employed by immigration authorities.
However, in a radio interview with Australia’s 2GB radio, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, said the vast majority of seeking to arrive in Australia by boat, were not asylum seekers, but rather, economic migrants.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR says it is deeply concerned by Australia’s return of the forty one asylum seekers, as well as the fate of the further 153 asylum seekers who are now subject to an Australian High Court injunction on their return.
With regard to the enhanced screening procedures used by Australian Authorities, UNHCR notes that its experience with shipboard, processing has generally not been positive.
The statement issued by the UN Refugee Agency notes that the UNHCR does not object to the return of persons properly found not to be in need of international protection.
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