11 Jul 2015

Nauru MPs back in court on Monday

11:29 am on 11 July 2015

Two Nauru opposition MPs are due to appear in court again on Monday, after their latest bid for bail was rejected.

The MPs, former president Sprent Dabwido and Squire Jeremiah, have been charged in connection with an anti-government protest outside parliament last month.

The pair have now been in custody for over three weeks.

The men do not have access to a lawyer on the island and a pleader, who provides some legal support, is also not on the island.

The prosecution has previously called for the men to have their families prepare the written material needed to make their cases for bail.

Former Nauru president Sprent Dabwido

Former Nauru president Sprent Dabwido Photo: supplied

The MPs want a lawyer allowed into the country from Australia but the Nauru Government continues to refuse him a visa.

They say they want the Supreme Court to rule on their right to have a lawyer of their choice.

The Nauru government has also confirmed reports that eight other men have been remanded in custody on protest-related charges.

The men are from the the detained MPs' Meneng district.

The President, Baron Waqa, told media on Friday in Australia that a lot of the reporting on Nauru ignores reforms made to the island's legal system, which he claims has made it more accountable and independent than it has ever been.

Despite this claim, Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop raised concerns about the justice system with Mr Waqa in a confidential meeting on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers meeting in Sydney.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, also met Mr Waqa to raise his concerns about the rule of law and potential abuses of human rights.

Julie Bishop says it is in Australia's interest to ensure there is security and stability in the region.

"I consider the Pacific Island nations to be family, and we raised appropriately but also in the interests of the region issues of concern and regional stablity is a matter of concern for us all."

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop. Photo: AFP