A child amongst a group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent back by Australia looks on before entering the magistrate's court in the southern port district of Galle July 8, 2014. (AFP Photo/Lakruwan Wanniarachi)
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Australia's government promised Tuesday not to hand over a group of asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan government without three days' notice amid a court challenge and uproar from human rights groups.The government's pledge came during a High Court hearing held one day after Australia's immigration minister confirmed that another boatload of asylum seekers had been intercepted by Australian border patrol and handed to Sri Lankan authorities in a transfer at sea. Lawyers representing some of the Sri Lankan asylum seekers on a second boat that was intercepted went to the High Court to stop the 153 people onboard from also being returned to Sri Lanka. Gleeson, the government's lawyer, said the asylum seekers were intercepted outside Australia's territorial waters and therefore not subject to any obligations under the nation's Migration Act, which sets guidelines on how asylum seekers are processed.
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