3 Aug 2017

Nauru protest defendants say judge decision is vindication

2:38 pm on 3 August 2017

A former Nauru cabinet minister who is one of 16 people facing charges over a protest says the government's decision to have the case heard by an Australian judge vindicates their stand over interference in the judiciary.

The Nauru justice minister, David Adeang, told parliament that the case would be complex and needed an outside judge.

The charges follow an anti-government protest at parliament in 2015, which the government charactises as a riot.

Mr Adeang said it was not a slight on the Nauru judiciary but an attempt to avoid suggestions of political interference or bias.

But Mathew Batsiua said the move vindicates what the defendants and their lawyers have been saying for months.

"Which is that the Nauru judiciary has been compromised by the frequent interference and intimidation by the government, in particular the minister, so much so that the new lawyers that the government has brought in for our trial must have advised them that the only tenable position is for the case to be handled by an independent judge from Australia," he said.

Nauru opposition MP Mathew Batsiua.

Nauru opposition MP Mathew Batsiua. Photo: Supplied

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