Government grants asylum seekers three days’ notice

The United Nations has criticised Australia’s decision to return 41 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, as the High Court considers the future of 153 others who could face the same fate.

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The court on Monday issued an interim injunction preventing the federal government from transferring the second group to Sri Lankan authorities.

The case is due back before the court in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The court’s deliberations come amid reports the first group, made up of 37 Sinhalese and four Tamils, are facing criminal charges following their return to Sri Lanka – despite assurances they were in no danger of persecution.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday expressed doubts about whether the government’s “enhanced screening procedures” – brief interviews to assess refugee claims – comply with international law.

The agency said its experience with shipboard processing has generally not been positive.

“Such an environment would rarely afford an appropriate venue for a fair procedure,” it said in a statement.

The UNHCR said people claiming asylum have a right to have their case properly assessed by qualified personnel in accordance with the necessary legal safeguards.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott dodged questions about the asylum seeker group and the court’s decision.

“I’m just not going to comment at all on operational matters,” he told the Seven Network.

“Any commentary by government members about operational matters just gives aid and comfort to the people smugglers.”

He said what the government does at sea is in line with its international obligations and safety protocols.

The father of a three-year-old girl named Febrina, who is among 37 children in the group of 153, has appealed for the government to protect his daughter.

“I am desperate to know where my family is. I can’t function at all not knowing. I know all of them would be in very big trouble if sent back to Sri Lanka,” he told the Tamil Refugee Council through an interpreter.

Opposition frontbencher Penny Wong says Labor has “serious concerns” about the treatment of the asylum seekers.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the government seems to believe it is “above the law”.

“The Australian people are becoming sick and tired of the spin, the secrecy, and the danger we’re putting these people’s lives in.”

The court’s injunction ends at 4pm on Tuesday unless it makes an order to extend it.

Pope Francis begs forgiveness from sex abuse victims

Pope Francis has acknowledged that sex abuse suicides weighed on his conscience while thanking victims for shining a light on the “terrible darkness” at the heart of the Catholic Church.

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At his long-awaited first meeting with victims on Monday, the Pope reached out to the tens of thousands of people abused by priests globally, telling them he was sorry for the “grave crimes committed against you”, and for the complicity of the church in covering them up.

Three male and three female victims from Britain, Germany and Ireland stayed the night in the Pope’s residence near Saint Peter’s Basilica before having breakfast with Francis. Each then spent a hour with him in private.

The meetings come amid criticism Francis has been slow to deal with the pedophile scandals which have hugely damaged the church.

In a moving speech afterwards in his native Spanish, the 77-year-old pontiff spoke of the “toxic effect” of abuse, which he admitted had ruined many lives.

He criticised the “omission on the part of church leaders” who covered up or ignored reports of abuse made by victims and family members.

Praising the bravery of victims, he said: “The courage that you and others have shown by speaking up, by telling the truth, was a service of love, since for us it shed light on a terrible darkness in the life of the Church.

“I look at you and … I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons,” he added.

He said the “unrelenting emotional and spiritual pain” caused by abuse meant that some had to face “the death of a loved one by suicide”.

Those deaths “weigh upon the heart and my conscience and that of the whole church”, the pope added.

Francis said there was “no place in the church’s ministry for those who commit these abuses”, adding: “I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not.”

The victims who met the pope were not identified to the press.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said it was hoped the meetings would “open a constructive path” towards “healing the wounds”.

The meetings had been hotly anticipated by victim support groups who have criticised the Argentinian for not acting sooner on an issue which has dogged the Church for over a decade.

While the pope in May had branded the sexual abuse of children by clergy as a crime comparable to a “satanic Mass” and promised “zero tolerance”, survivors questioned why a pontiff famed for his compassion had not met with victims.

Abuse survivors: Pope must keep promise to hold bishops to account

Support groups for suvivors of abuse cautiously welcomed the Pope’s promise to hold bishops to account.

“Francis must take decisive action right now, action to expose and remove clerics who commit and conceal heinous crimes against the most vulnerable,” said the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Anne Barrett Doyle of the US-based BishopAccountability广西桑拿, reiterated the call for action.

“Now Pope Francis must internalize and personalize his point about Church leaders ‘who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse’,” she said in a statement.

Pope Francis was criticised by abuse survivor support groups earlier this year for comments he made when he said the Catholic Church had done more than any other institution to remove paedophiles from the organisation.

The Vatican says it has received 3,420 credible accusations of sexual abuse by priests in the past decade, with 824 clerics defrocked as a result. The Church in the United States has paid $2.5 billion in compensation to victims.

NSW’s Gallen braced for career highlight

NSW skipper Paul Gallen has been public enemy No.

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1 in Queensland for as long as he can remember.

Around 10.15pm (AEST) on Wednesday, that will all be pushed to one side when he raises the State of Origin Shield – the first Blues’ captain to do so since Andrew Johns nine years ago – a moment he says will be the highlight of his career.

The Blues will toast their series victory in what’s expected to be a deserted Suncorp Stadium with Queensland supporters tipped to exit en masse after the final siren.

Around five thousand tickets are still unsold, a NRL official told AAP on Tuesday, but a similar amount of Blues supporters were expected to make the trip up the Pacific Highway.

But Gallen said regardless of the size of the audience, lifting the Shield for the first time would be a moment to savour.

“It’ll be nice. I played up here a few weeks ago against the Broncos and they certainly let me have it,” Gallen said.

“Hopefully, they won’t be too loud when we go up so I can congratulate Queensland for what they have done over the last eight years and thank our boys.

“It’s something I am looking forward to and it will certainly be a career highlight.”

Gallen said he wouldn’t hold any hard feelings towards the home crowd if they chose to snub the presentation ceremony as he dedicated the series win to the 87 players and four coaches who had pitted their wits against the Maroons since 2006.

“That’s understandable. It’s up to them what they do – I am not too worried about it … I can’t wait to hold it up. I don’t care if there’s 55,000 here or five,” he said.

“It’s going to be a great moment, not just for myself and this team, but for every player and coach that’s played a part over the last eight years.

“We’ve played against this Queensland side who’ve been blessed with all these great players … and to finally beat them is a great moment in history. I can’t wait to hold that trophy up.”

Gallen makes his 18th Blues appearance on Wednesday and has put behind him for now the pressures of skippering a Cronulla club caught in the crosshairs of the ASADA investigation.

The 32-year-old and the Sharks have been under constant scrutiny since the infamous ‘darkest day in Australian sport’ media conference in February last year.

He spoke openly last month about the stress it had placed on him and his family and NSW coach Laurie Daley and his teammates had been blown away at his ability to lead under such pressure.

“Gal is a fantastic captain. I couldn’t ask for anyone better,” Daley told AAP.

“He has been a great servant to NSW over the years and throughout this series. No one deserves to win this series more than him.”

Blues vice-captain Robbie Farah is widely seen as Gallen’s successor-in-waiting, but the Wests Tigers’ hooker hopes that day is still a long way off.

“I hope Gal sticks around for as long as he can,” Farah said.

“I love playing under him and I think I speak for all the boys. It’s been a tough 18 months for him at club level.

“But I think coming here in camp helps him get away from everything.

“We’ve never noticed anything different from him. He’s the skipper we need him to be.”

Kittel reigns supreme on streets of London

 

With his Giant-Shimano team setting a searing pace at the front of the peloton as it snaked around some of London’s most well-known landmarks, Kittel burst to the line at the end of the 155-km third stage, a flat run from Cambridge.

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Slovakia’s Peter Sagan was second with Australian Mark Renshaw, Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s main sprinter in the absence of Mark Cavendish who crashed out on Saturday, third.

While Kittel put down another marker in his fight with Sagan for the sprinter’s green jersey, Italian Vincenzo Nibali will wear the yellow one as the race leaves Britain for France after one of the most memorable starts in its history.

Nibali, one of the biggest threats to Britain’s reigning champion Chris Froome, finished comfortably in the pack to retain his two-second lead.

“I really enjoyed my first day with the yellow jersey,” Nibali, who was third overall in 2012 behind Bradley Wiggins and Froome, but had never worn the fabled garment until his victory in Sheffield on Sunday, told reporters.

“My next goal is to complete the fifth stage (on cobblestones in northern France) with no worries and I’ll take one step at the time.

“I hope to entertain my fans who enjoy seeing me in the yellow jersey, in Italy and elsewhere.”

Despite losing nearly 20 minutes in the overall standings during a brutal day of climbing in Yorkshire on Sunday, Kittel crosses the Channel with fond memories of Britain, having also won a bunch sprint in Harrogate on Saturday.

With the chimes of Big Ben ringing out and thousands of people watching, many of them curious office workers enjoying extended lunch breaks, Kittel’s performance just around the corner from Buckingham Palace was regal.

 

GERMAN POWERHOUSE

With main rival Mark Cavendish having abandoned after his horror crash on Saturday, the German powerhouse will take some stopping on the flatter stages.

“My job was 500 metres long, but the biggest fight was already over,” the 26-year-old, who took his total of Tour stage wins to six, said of the work of his team mates.

“My boys had done a great job before that. I lost their wheels at some point, but Tom Veelers brought me back to the wheel of Koen de Kort.

“Because of the rain, everybody was scared. But I didn’t let myself be disturbed and it’s a great day for us.”

After two dramatic days in the spectacular scenery of Yorkshire, Monday’s stage was a chance for the peloton to take stock and conserve some energy as the race meandered around the Essex countryside in pleasant sunshine.

There were still incidents, though, with 2010 winner Andy Schleck crashing on the approaches to the city.

“I was very unlucky, it was not even raining,” the Luxembourg rider, who is two minutes 24 seconds behind the race leader, said.

“One guy moved from the left to the right and I could not really avoid him and went straight down at high speed.

“I lost a bit of skin on the road. On the right side, on the arm, the hip and the ribs. I guess it was my own fault.”

Frenchman Jean-Marc Bideau, who was in the sole breakaway with Czech Jan Barta, won the day’s intermediate sprint.

They were both reeled in as the race reached central London.

The Tour moves into France on Tuesday with a 163.5-km stage from Le Touquet to Lille.

 

(Additional reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Tim Collings)

Defence team closes case in Pistorius murder trial

Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the court until August 7 to allow the legal teams to prepare closing arguments, due to take a day each.

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She will then begin her deliberations, extending a trial that has already dragged on over four months.

The case has captivated global audiences and had round-the-clock coverage in Pistorius’ native South Africa, making it arguably the most-watched celebrity murder trial since U.S. athlete O.J. Simpson was cleared of murdering his wife and her friend in 1995.

Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, could face life in prison if he is found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed at his luxury Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year.

The 27-year-old athlete, known as “Blade Runner” because of the carbon-fibre prosthetic legs he uses, says he killed Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder hiding in the toilet next to his bedroom.

The state alleges he fired four rounds from a 9 mm pistol in a fit of rage after an argument, killing the 29-year-old law graduate and model as she cowered behind the locked toilet door.

The killing has shattered the image of Pistorius as an embodiment of triumph over adversity for both his Paralympic victories and competition against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics.

The track star broke down frequently during the trial, often sobbing and vomiting into a bucket.

COMPOSED DEMEANOUR

The emotional displays were in marked contrast to his composed and confident demeanour as he re-enacted the shooting in a leaked video aired on Australian television on Sunday.

After the broadcast of the film, which Pistorius’ lawyers said was for trial preparation only and had been “obtained illegally” by Australia’s Channel 7, Masipa banned any airing or publication of the closing arguments before they are read in court.

There is no jury, and so the verdict hinges on whether Masipa believes Pistorius’ version of events. She was only the second black woman to be appointed a high court judge and has a reputation for handing down stiff sentences in crimes against women.

At the bail hearing over a year ago, magistrate Desmond Nair pointed to what he said were a number of “improbabilities” in Pistorius’ version.

“I have difficulty in appreciating why the accused would not seek to ascertain who exactly was in the toilet,” Nair said at the time. “I also have difficulty in appreciating why the deceased would not have screamed back from the toilet.”

The prosecution has attempted to portray Pistorius as self-centred, hot-tempered and obsessed with guns. Alongside the murder charge, he is also accused of three gun-related offences, all of which he has denied.

At one point during the trial, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose reputation as one of South Africa’s toughest attorneys has earned him the nickname “The Pitbull”, told Pistorius: “You will blame anybody but yourself.”

The defence has argued that Pistorius had an elevated sense of vulnerability due to his disability, compounded by fear of attack in crime-ridden South Africa.

It has also portrayed the relationship between Pistorius and Steenkamp as a loving one, arguing the athlete has been devastated by the loss of his girlfriend.

(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Cropley and Andrew Roche)

The long, slow march of ‘biofortified’ GM

In 1992, a pair of scientists had a brainwave: how about inserting genes into rice that would boost its vitamin A content?

By doing so, tens of millions of poor people who depend on rice as a staple could get a vital nutrient, potentially averting hundreds of thousands of cases of blindness each year.

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The idea for what came to be called “golden rice” – thus named for its bright yellow hue – was proclaimed as a defining moment for genetically-modified food.

Backers said the initiative ushered in an era when GM crops would start to help the poor and malnourished, rather than benefit only farmers and biotech firms.

“It’s a humanitarian project,” Ingo Potrykus, professor emeritus at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), one of the co-inventors of golden rice, said in a recent interview.

Yet the rice is still a long way from appearing in food bowls – 2016 has become the latest date sketched for commercialisation, provided the novel product gets the go-ahead.

With $US30 million ($A32.46 million) invested in it so far, the odyssey speaks tellingly of the technical, regulatory and commercial hurdles that have beset the “biofortified food” dream.

First, it took scientists years to find and insert two genes that modified the metabolic pathway in rice to boost levels of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.

After that came the biosafety phase, to see if the rice was safe for health and the environment – and if beta-carotene levels in lab plants were replicated in field trials in different soils and climates.

There were also “bio-efficacy” experiments to see whether the rice did indeed overcome vitamin deficiency, and whether volunteers found the taste acceptable.

These tests are still unfolding in the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh, said Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“We have been working on this for a long time and we would like to have this process completed as soon as possible,” he said.

But “it depends on the regulatory authorities. That is not under our control.”

Antonio Alfonso at the Philippine Rice Research Institute, which partners IRRI in the not-for-profit development of golden rice, said “it will be two or three more years before we can apply for commercialisation.”

The rice’s yield may also have to be tweaked to boost its appeal to farmers, whose buy-in is essential, he said.

Coming on the heels of golden rice is the “super banana” developed by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Genetically designed, like golden rice, to be enriched with beta-carotene, the bananas were sent to the United States in June for a six-week trial to measure by how much they lifted vitamin A levels in humans.

If all goes well, they will start to be grown commercially in Uganda in 2020.

Project leader James Dale said so-called cooking bananas grown as the staple food in East Africa were low in vitamin A and iron.

“Good science can make a massive difference here,” he said.

Other research into biofortified food has looked at boosting levels of important micronutrients in cassava and corn, also called maize, but progress has also been faltering.

It took 15 years of enclosed research in the lab for British scientists this year to decide to seek permission for field trials of a plant called false flax (Latin name Camelina sativa).

Engineered to create omega-3 fat, the plant could be used as feed in fish farming. It would spare the world’s fish stocks, which provide food pellets for captive salmon, trout and other high-value species.

Environmental groups are defiant about GM-fortified foods. Some have dubbed golden rice “fool’s gold.”

Greenpeace, the most vocal and influential of the critics, says the risks of GM contamination to other plants and impacts on health may not emerge for years.

There are also suspicions that developing countries are being used as a technological testbed – and contentions that malnutrition will not be ended by a magic bullet fired from a gene lab.

“This whole vitamin A issue is a red herring,” said Janet Cotter, a scientist with Greenpeace at the University of Exeter, southwestern England.

“Access to a better and diverse diet is what people need, not a technical fix, (not) something based solely on rice or bananas.”

Andrea Sonnino, chief of the Research and Extension Unit at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said ensuring food security and a decent diet were very complex.

GM crops had a part to play in the solution, but not exclusively so.

“We have to go with a set of possible answers to problems that in many cases are technological and in many cases are not, they are social, economic and so on,” he said.

“We have to work in different ways, and not only on the technological front.”

Volkers didn’t work with children: QAS

The Queensland Academy of Sport didn’t think Olympic swimming coach Scott Volkers needed a working with children test because he wouldn’t have much contact with them, a royal commission has heard.

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining how Swimming Australia and the Queensland Academy of Sport dealt with allegations of child sex abuse against Mr Volkers in 2002.

The charges were dropped in 2003.

The former director of the Queensland Academy of Sport, Alexander Baumann, on Tuesday told the royal commission he was aware a person who escaped conviction for child abuse may still be unsuitable to work with children.

“I was aware of this but I guess in Scott’s case, he wasn’t working with children,” Mr Baumann told the commission via video link from New Zealand.

“You weren’t concerned about whether or not he was a suitable person to work with children; is that correct?” council assisting, Caroline Spruce asked.

“Because he was coordinator of the program, correct,” Mr Baumann replied.

Four women made seven allegations against Mr Volkers in 2002, accusing him of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Queensland DPP ultimately decided to drop the seven charges against him.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Baumann repeatedly described Mr Volkers as a “coach’s coach” who had more contact with other coaches at the academy than children.

Mr Baumann was read detailed allegations made against Mr Volkers in 2005 by a former academy athlete known as AEE.

The police report – made during Mr Baumann’s tenure – accused Mr Volkers of assaulting her with a sex toy between 1997 and 1998.

Ms Spruce asked Mr Baumann if those allegations would have made him concerned.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” he said.

“And I have not read those.”

Mr Volkers applied twice for a Queensland “blue card” – essentially a working with children’s check – but was ultimately denied when Queensland’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal found he posed an unacceptable risk to children.

At the time, government employees were exempt from the requirement to get a working with children check. The hearings continue.

England’s Buttler in as Prior Test cover

England had an injury scare to contend with on the eve of the opening Test against India when Jos Buttler was called up on Tuesday as cover for wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

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Prior suffered a thigh injury while training on Monday, but was set to take a full part in Tuesday’s practice at Trent Bridge ahead of the first of a five-match series which starts on Wednesday at the Nottingham ground.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said on Twitter: “Jos Buttler called into the England squad as cover for Matt Prior, who experienced some mild tightness in his right thigh yesterday (Monday). “… will continue to be assessed during training before a decision is made about his fitness for the 1st Investec Test.”

Prior had been struggling with achilles problems ahead of the recent two-Test series at home to Sri Lanka, which England lost 1-0.

Before that series, there had been calls for Lancashire gloveman Buttler – aged 23 and nine years younger than Prior – to be given a Test debut after he’d impressed for England during the preceding one-dayers against Sri Lanka which included his 121 off 74 balls at Lord’s.

But the player and England management said he needed to become more consistent with bat and gloves in first-class cricket before he could get a Test chance.

So far this season in the county championship, Buttler has scored 491 runs at 40.91 with one hundred and four 50s.

Prior was recalled to the Test side for the Sri Lankan series after being dropped following the third Test against Australia in Perth.

He made 86 in the first innings at Lord’s but struggled behind the stumps in the second Test at Headingley, where Sri Lanka won by 100 runs to claim their first series victory on English soil.

Obama seeks $3.7 bn to stem border entries

President Barack Obama has requested $US3.

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7 billion ($A4 billion) in emergency funding from Congress to help cope with a surge of unaccompanied child immigrants from Central America.

White House officials said on Tuesday the funds, far higher than the president signalled he would request late last month, would help ease an “urgent humanitarian situation” that has seen tens of thousands of minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras illegally cross the southern US border this year.

The appropriation would go to various US government agencies and fund an increase in immigration judges, asylum officers and border agents, expand court capacity, and add detention facilities, the officials said.

One main goal is to speed up turnaround times for deportations, with one White House official saying “we are prioritising recent border crossers”.

The funds would also expand the government’s Alternatives to Detention program through increased use of methods such as ankle bracelets that would allow migrants to be housed with relatives instead of over-crowded, expensive detention facilities while their cases are being processed.

“We are taking an aggressive approach on both sides of the border,” another White House official told reporters, referring to US efforts to speed up the deportation process as well as co-ordination with Mexican and Central American authorities to prevent migrants taking the perilous journey to the United States.

“We are taking steps to both protect due process but also to remove these migrants efficiently,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to Obama’s emergency supplemental request for fiscal year 2014, which ends September 30, the Department of Homeland Security will receive more than $US1.5 billion, including $US116 million to pay for transporting migrants back to their home countries.

The Department of Health and Human Services will be allocated $US1.8 billion, mostly to provide care for unaccompanied child migrants.

The State Department will also receive some $US300 million to help reintegrate Central American migrants to their home countries, address the underlying causes driving migration, and launch media campaigns emphasising that illegal immigrants will not be allowed to stay in the United States.

Returned Sri Lanka migrants vent fury

A Sri Lankan migrant aboard a boat that was controversially turned back mid-sea by Australia has slammed Canberra over his treatment, as a court granted bail to most of the 41 asylum seekers.

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As anxious relatives waited on Tuesday outside the court in the southern Sri Lankan city of Galle, a magistrate granted bail to 27 of the migrants and remanded five others for another two weeks in custody.

The magistrate discharged nine children in the group. The adults could face charges of leaving the country illegally, an offence that carries a maximum two years in jail.

One of the detainees, Bhamith Caldera, said he would “complain to the UN” over his treatment by Australian customs authorities and denied that he had been screened as a possible asylum seeker.

“They never asked any questions. They just wanted us to go back,” he said, declining to answer if he believed he had a case for asylum. “They treated us very badly.”

He said that they had been given food past its expiry date and people had been refused medicine.

“When women were down with fever, they were just given water,” he added. “We were starved. Where is Australia’s human rights?”

Caldera made the comments as he and the group arrived at the court by bus and were escorted by plain-clothed police officers after spending a night in the notorious Boossa detention centre.

The complex has a reputation for torture and is used as a high-security centre for those detained on terrorism-related offences.

The four women, one of them carrying a baby that appeared only a few months old, covered their faces as they passed in front of reporters ahead of their court appearance.

“We will individually register them and the magistrate will decide a course of action,” a court official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

N. Saman, who was waiting outside the court, said his two nephews, aged 24 and 25, had left on the boat in early June in the hope of securing a farm labouring job in New Zealand.

“We were told that they wanted to go to New Zealand. Now we are told that they were turned back by Australia,” he said.

Other relatives said the boat was meant to go to Australia, with the confusion possibly caused by people smugglers who have been known to mislead migrants about their final destination.

A man who refused to give his name said he had received a phone call from one of his relatives in detention on Monday asking him to attend court in case magistrate Umesh Kalansuriya ordered their release on bail.

“The family left about a month ago, but I don’t know where they went,” he said.

“The next thing I heard was when they called last night asking for help. They said they were held in Boossa.”

The group was brought ashore at Galle, 115 kilometres south of the capital, and taken to Boossa on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasooriya said on Monday that the 41 were taken into custody in “deep waters off the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka,” but gave no further details.

Australia has come under fire over the transfer, with experts warning that repelling migrants after screening them as potential asylum-seekers at sea appeared to be inadequate under international law.

An Australian court has temporarily halted the transfer of a second boatload of 153 mainly ethnic Tamil asylum-seekers from being handed back to Sri Lanka.

Lawyers acting for some of the 153 took their case to the High Court on Tuesday, arguing a transfer would be illegal and they should not be returned against their will.

Australia’s immigration minister is due in Sri Lanka on Wednesday to meet top officials and hand over a patrol boat gifted to Sri Lanka.