12 Oct 2016

Integrity of Nauru justice department questioned

8:12 pm on 12 October 2016

A former Nauru MP has questioned the integrity of the country's justice department as a former president remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Sprent Dabwido collapsed last week, after the government cancelled his passport, preventing him from travelling to Australia for ugent heart treatment.

Sprent Arumogo Dabwido, President of the Republic of Nauru, addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly on 2012.

Sprent Arumogo Dabwido, President of the Republic of Nauru, addresses the general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly on 2012. Photo: UN Photo/J Carrier

The Secretary of Justice, Graham Leung, a respected lawyer from Fiji, has been in Fiji this week for the funeral of fellow Fijian and former Nauru Chief Justice, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Mr Leung is understood to have received Mr Dabwido's request for a new passport before he left for Fiji, but the former MP president is desperately waiting for the secretary's response.

A former MP Squire Jeremiah said the integrity of the Department was in question if a former president could be left to languish on Nauru due to petty political differences.

"We just hope that Graham Leung is a man of principle and will do the right thing - so we'll be able to see whether it will be given or not," said Mr Jeremiah.

"And the point is, Sprent's case is life-threatening and we're running out of time, I believe. We need an urgent referral to evacuate him."

Squire Jeremiah said a doctor and hospital director in Nauru have since left the country after writing a referral for Mr Dabwido to see a specialist in Australia.

"This is crazy, this is insane, it's a new level of really discouraging people from standing against the government. You'll end up in the same position as Sprent. And this is very serious, I believe the international community needs to step in and help," he said.

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The tiny island state of Nauru. Photo: RNZ / YouTube

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