Asylum-seekers Kept At Sea By Australia To Seek Compensation - Yahoo News

October 20, 2014

A group of 157 asylum-seekers held for weeks on the high seas on an Australian customs vessel will fitness seek compensation for their treatment, their lawyers said Monday. The group, thought to be mostly ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka and including 50 children, left the Indian port of Pondicherry last month -- but their boat was intercepted by Australian authorities. They were held in limbo on the customs ship until they were brought to Australia on the weekend to allow Indian consular officials to assess them with a view to taking them back to India. Lawyers representing 85 of those on board have challenged their treatment in the High Court, and on Monday altered their claim to one of false imprisonment, with an application for compensation. "The court agreed to the plaintiff's request view to change the statement of claim to include a claim for compensation," spokesman for the asylum-seekers' legal team Hugh de Kretser told AFP. The High Court was now considering whether it was legal for Australia to detain the group for nearly a month and, if it was not, whether there was an entitlement to compensation, he said. Australian Immigration Minister Scott moved here Morrison at a press conference in Sydney on July 25, 2014 anno De Kretser said there was no figure for compensation, saying: "It's far too early for that." Earlier Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the group had likely been living in India for some time and were essentially economic migrants. "The indications are... that there are a very large number of people on this ship that had been resident in India for a very long time," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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