20 Apr 2017

Nauruans accused over protest seek temporary stay

3:35 pm on 20 April 2017

The 19 Nauruans charged in connection with an anti-government protest nearly two years ago are seeking a temporary stay on their trial.

They say they believe they can not get a fair trial in Nauru.

The trial began yesterday with the defendants, including three former MPs, asking the court to enforce subpoenas on key government officials, including the Justice Minister

David Adeang.

One of those charged, former MP Mathew Batsiua, said these officials had information and documentation that the defendants believed could assist their case.

Lawyers, Felicity Graham, Stephen Lawrence, Mark Higgins, Neal Funnell, Christian Hearn

Lawyers for the Nauruans charged in connection with an anti-government protest. Photo: supplied

He said they were taking these steps because of the extraordinary interest the Nauru government had taken in the trial.

"Given that they have been interfering in the judiciary in the past and they continue to do so, we believe that we won't be able to get a fair hearing because there is intimidation on the courts. Our argument to have a temporary stay rests on the basis that we believe we won't be able to get a fair trial, under these circumstances."

Mr Batsiua said they expected proceedings to continue later this week or early next week.

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