25 Jul 2013

Asylum seekers facing riot charges on Nauru appear in court

5:01 am on 25 July 2013

The Nauru District Court began proceedings on Wednesday to lay charges on 152 asylum seekers arrested over the riot at the Australian run detention camp on the island.

A government statement says the group remain in police custody and bail hearings will start today.

The charges so far are for rioting and unlawful assembly.

Additional charges including arson on public buildings are expected.

The asylum seekers appeared in the Nauru District Court before Resident Magistrate Peter Law in groups of ten to 12.

They are being represented by court appointed lawyers with each group aided by an interpreter.

Mr Law read the two charges of unlawful assembly and rioting, explaining that all those appearing in court assembled together in such a manner as to cause fear and disturb the peace.

He added the charges of unlawful assembly and rioting contravene sections 61 and 63 respectively of the Criminal Code of Nauru.

At the conclusion of the proceedings Mr Law issued an order that police briefs are to be served by August the 21st.

The riot on Friday 19 July began with protests which escalated and ended in the burning and destruction to 80 per cent of the Centre's infrastructure.

The damages to the Centre are estimated at 55-million US dollars.