Australia sends back illegal immigrants to Indonesian territory

Sukabumi, W Java (ANTARA News) - Australia has sent back 15 illegal immigrants from Nepal, Iran and Bangladesh to Indonesian territory in the sea off Sukabumi, Indonesian authorities said.

The illegal immigrants already reached Australian island of Christmas and stayed there for three days, an official of the Sukabumi district immigration office Markus Lenggo quoted the immigrant as saying.

"They said they crossed to the Australian island from the Pamengpeuk coastal village of Garut on March 17 , but after three days they were sent back to Indonesian territory in the sea off Pangumbahan, in the sub-district of Ciracap, regency of Sukabumi,"Markus Lenggo said here on Monday.

The 15 illegal immigrants -- six from Iran including three girls, seven from Bangladesh and two from Nepal - were found stranded in the coast of Pangumbahan by police on Sunday (March 22).

They were then sent to the Sukabumi immigration office which put them in the immigration detention center.

Markus said the immigration office had coordinated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the ministry of justice and human right what to do with the illegal immigrants.

Nine of them hold official documents from the UNHCR showing that they are asylum seekers ,, but the rest claimed they have lost their documents.

"We are awaiting directions from IOM and the justice and human right ministry what to do with the immigrants. Based on an international law they may not be deported to their respective countries unless they want so," he said.

One of the illegal immigrant Muhamad Baleyet Husain from Bangladesh said the Australian authorities told them they had to be sent back to Indonesia as the two countries were having political problem with two Australians facing death execution on drug smuggling case .

"We already arrived in Australia precisely on the Christmas island but the local Australia authorities sent us back to Indonesian waters using a boat accompanied by Australian officers," Husain said.

Husain, who spoke fluently in Indonesian language said he already stayed for six months in the country before attempting to seek asylum in Australia.(*)

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