Lawyers For Accused Nauru Protestors Fear Deportation

Justice Minister allegedly makes 'veiled threats' against Australians in Parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 27, 2017) – There are fears in Nauru that the Australian lawyers brought in to help 18 people facing charges over an anti-government protest two years ago could be deported.

The justice minister, David Adeang, made comments in Parliament on Thursday, accusing the lawyers of condescending behaviour and being disrespectful in court.

One of the accused men, Mathew Batsiua, who is a former cabinet minister and a former secretary of justice, said Mr Adeang then made veiled threats directed at the five Australian lawyers.

Mr Batsiua said the 18 fear their lawyers could be deported.

"We have seen the minister deport people without due process over the past couple of years, so that was the immediate thing that came to our mind was that he might deport our lawyers, or force the court to take action against our lawyers," said Mr Batsuia.

In January 2014, the Nauru government deported its resident magistrate, Peter Law, and his media advisor, Rod Henshaw, back to Australia.

Meanwhile, the group facing charges will continue to seek a temporary stay on the trial on Friday, citing the difficulties they face in getting a fair trial in Nauru.

Radio New Zealand International
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