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Australia rejects claims that navy mistreated asylum seekers

Published on Jan 22, 2014 1:31 PM

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australia on Wednesday rejected claims by a group of asylum seekers that they were beaten and suffered burns while being returned to Indonesia by the Australian navy under a policy that has strained ties between the neighbours.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Tuesday aired video of asylum seekers getting treatment for burns they said were caused by Navy personnel forcing them to hold onto hot pipes coming out of the boat's engine while it was being towed back to Indonesian waters.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison lashed out at the media for reporting what he called "unsubstantiated allegations" and said that he would conduct no investigation into the incident as he accepted the word of navy personnel.

"The Australian government is not going to put up with people sledging the Australian navy," he told reporters in Sydney. "I've been given assurances about their conduct and I believe those assurances because I believe in those individuals."

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