Tamil asylum seeker case heads to the High Court

Tamil asylum seeker case heads to the High Court

The case of 157 asylum seekers who were detained at sea on an Australian customs vessel, will be heard by the full bench of the High Court today.

The boatload of mostly Sri Lankan asylum seekers left India on June 13, and were intercepted two weeks later, before being detained on a Customs vessel in the high seas for almost a month.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers, who are now being held in the Nauru Detention Centre, are arguing their clients were falsely imprisoned, and are contesting the government’s power to detain them.

The Abbott government attempted to have the asylum seekers returned to India but failed, instead sending them to Nauru.

The Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are both seeking leave to take part in the hearing, which will take place over two days.

Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, Daniel Webb, says the High Court’s decision could have huge implications for the government’s asylum seeker policy.

“In particular, the court will look at the Government’s power to detain people at sea and then take them elsewhere and consider whether that’s a power that needs to be exercised fairly; whether that’s a power that needs to be exercised with due consideration for individual circumstances,” he said.

About author

Libby Dreyer
Libby Dreyer 1729 posts

Libby has worked as a Senior Journalist at National Radio News since February 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Canberra in December 2010.

View all posts by this author →

You might also like

National

Abbott assures no US B-1 bombers coming to Australia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a US military official ‘misspoke’, when outlining America’s plans to bulk up its presence in Australia. It comes after US Assistant Secretary of Defence for

Highlight Stories

Tony Abbott urges Europe to turn back asylum seeker boats

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used his first public address since being booted from office, to encourage European countries to adopt Australia’s tough border protection measures. Mr Abbott has

Julia Gillard makes bid for UN Security Council seat

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has addressed the United Nations General Assembly to lobby for Australia to be given a seat on the UN Security Council.

National 0 Comments

Call for asylum seekers to be sent back from Manus Island

An Australian aid organisation says the Commonwealth may face serious legal action down the track over its offshore processing centres.