Australian lawyer to file over Vanuatu deportation
An Australian lawyer is preparing to file a case against the Vanuatu Government after being deported without notice earlier this month.
An Australian lawyer Robert Herd says he is preparing to file a case against the Vanuatu government after being deported without notice earlier this month.
Mr Herd was deported on the grounds that he had breached the Immigration Act.
Indira Moala reports.
Kiery Manassah, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister, says the government is standing firm on its decision to deport Mr Herd. Mr Manassah said they found clear evidence to support allegations that Mr Herd had been involved in funding an attempted no confidence motion against the Prime Minister Joe Natuman.
KIERY MANASSAH: It's not easy in Vanuatu where there are so many coalitions and political instability is a big issue. And so the government decided to deport Mr Herd - and there is also evidence and people are aware that Mr Herd is closely connected to Moana. I mean, the government is absolutely confident about it's decision. People might perceive it as a bit too harsh but you know I think the government has laws here and it wants to make sure that people are here for a good cause and they don't get involved in local politics. It's not easy for the government to run especially when there are people trying to cause instability and cause further problems for the government to govern properly.
A former head of Transparency International Vanuatu and practising Lawyer Marie Noelle Ferrieux- Patterson says deportation is a tricky case that must be handled carefully.
MARIE NOELLE FERRIEUX PATTERSON: It will be more up to the government to issue this challenge in court to show that they were right and we hope that they are right because if they are wrong it really doesn't make people sit comfortable. But apparently the Prime Minister seems to be quite convinced that he has his evidence and the law has been respected so we'll see.
A statement from the opposition on Mr Herd's deportation claimed the government had no valid ground to deport Mr Herd under the Immigration Act. The statement also said the government had now exposed the people of Vanuatu to a substantial damages claim which could costs the government millions of vatus. But Mr Manassah says the Natuman government does not feel threatened by Mr Herd's plans to sue.
KIERY MANASSAH: Mr Herd will have to have a very good ground to file for damages. As far as the government is concerned, it has information there and it's absolutely clear with its decision and it's up to Mr Herd to do whatever he wants. At the end of the day, the government wants to protect its integrity. The national interest is more important than this.
Under section 53A of the Immigration Act, the Minister may remove any non-citizen who he believes is involved in activities that are detrimental to national security, defence or public order. Robert Herd says he will not comment until his legal papers have been filed in court.
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