Four Nauruans Charged Over 2015 Anti-Government Protests Plead Guilty

Severity of sentences imposed to be appealed; remaining 16 accused to face hearings next year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 1, 2016) – Four of the 20 people charged over an anti-government protest outside the Nauru Parliament in June of last year have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

The protest, which the government deemed a riot, led to the arrests of several MPs and their supporters.

The four, one of whom is a woman, pleaded guilty to disturbing the legislature, two admitted riot charges, one to assault, one unlawful assembly and one charge of damaging property.

The three men have been jailed for terms of six to nine months, with the woman given a suspended six-month sentence.

The severity of the sentences is being appealed and the three men remain on bail.

Meanwhile the remaining 16, who include former president, Sprent Dabwido, a former justice minister Mathew Batsiua and another MP Squire Jeremiah are due to have their cases heard in April - nearly two years after the alleged offences occurred.

The charges they face include rioting, disturbing the legislature and entering a restricted area - namely the airport, which is adjacent to the parliament.

The MPs, who had been suspended from parliament for more than a year at the time of the protest, lost their seats in this year's election.

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2016 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

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