Suspended Nauru MP out of custody, on strict bail
A former Nauru justice minister who was arrested this week during an anti government protest is now out on bail under strict conditions including a nightly residential curfew.
A former Nauru justice minister who was arrested this week during an anti government protest is now out on bail.
The protest, which the government had called a riot, had centered on efforts to end the suspension of five MPs, who have not been in parliament since May last year.
Another issue is the allegations of corruption involving the President Baron Waqa and Justice and Finance Minister, David Adeang, with people calling for them to stand aside.
Mathew Batsiua, who is one of the suspended MPs, was arrested early on during the first day of the protests on Tuesday, after apparently being lured to enter the Parliament Building with a promise of a meeting with the President.
That never happened but he was promptly arrested and held in custody for two nights before being charged on Thursday.
Don Wiseman asked Mr Batsiua about the charge he is facing.
MATHEW BATSIUA: I have been charged with disturbance of the legislature, that is my only charge at this time.
DON WISEMAN: Do you want to comment on that, did you disturb the legislature?
MB: I don't think I did but you know that's now going to be a hearing on that further down the track that is what I have been charged with but we will be putting appeals.
DWI: I understand there is also a condition being placed on you that if you offend the government in anyway you could be taken into custody.
MB: Look the bail conditions are fairly extensive, I have had to surrender my passport to prevent travel out of the country. I have to stay within my residence from the hours from pm to am. I can't communicate with the other MPs who were involved in the protest - those kind of things. I have also had to report to the police once a week every Friday. So things like that and they are quite extensive bail conditions. So that is what the magistrate ordered yesterday as part of my bail conditions and so that is how things are.
DWI: No restrictions on contact with the Media?
MB: Yes there is no restrictions on contact with the media - it's just they ensure that I keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
DW: Now this protest I know it had been some time in the planning to coincide with the budget going through parliament. But it would appear from this distance to be something that has quite a lot of legs yet. Is that how you see it?
MB: Look I think the government has been handling the grievances of people poorly. Even when the protest was occurring I believe there were ample opportunities for the government to take leadership on the matter. And simply by just fronting to the protestors and talking to them. During the protest we sighted that there were cabinet ministers looking down. So they were within view of the protest They were in the Parliament building, sitting upstairs in the dining area. And they were just looking down and taking pictures and laughing. A very insensitive approach by those in power, almost mocking the protestors. And that is a lack of leadership and typical of a government that is arrogant. People have genuine grievances that they want addressed and they were not even willing to come down and face the crowd and address those grievances. And if they did that none of those actions which caused more disruptions would have occurred. Simply if the government took leadership, the President took leadership and came down and addressed the crowd.
DW: So the protestors will do what, now?
MB: I believe the government in dealing with the protest again have not shown leadership by sacking the people left, right and center. People who they believed were part of the protest. Whether it is terminating employment without any due process and in response I have heard that some of the aggrieved people who have been terminated without any due process are now reacting by refusing government to extend their presence on their land. So we have the hotel that I have read and I have heard that is now under jeopardy. Because some of the landowners have been sacked by the government without any due process and now they are now threatening to evict the government from their land. This happens when you have a government that is not willing to sit down and talk with the people. A government that is just heavy handed in its approach and a government that during the height of the protest and in view of the protestors were looking down and laughing and mocking the protestors. And it raises the question just you know if we have people with heart and conscience in government. So far you know that we have levelled allegations that they are behaving like dictators and they have shown us nothing to the contrary. The type of behaviour that they have reacted to the acts of the protestors.
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