Wed. Jan 29th, 2020

Jailing of Nauru protesters ‘disturbing’ – Australian lawyer

The Nauru 19 are accused of rioting outside Parliament in 2015. Supplied: Squire Jeremiah

YAREN, 24 DECEMBER 2019 — Australian taxpayers should be disturbed that they’ve helped fund a new prison in Nauru that will house a group of political protesters, says a lawyer.

The group of 12, originally known as the ‘Nauru 19’, was sentenced last week to terms from three to 11 months.

They had been found guilty in Nauru’s Supreme Court of rioting and disorderly behaviour, following protests outside the Nauru Parliament more than four and a half years ago.

The trial came after the Nauru government overturned a permanent stay on proceedings issued by an Australian judge the government had brought in to hear the case.

Australian barrister Stephen Lawrence called the sentences a “chilling precedent”.

“It should really be a disturbing thing indeed for Australian taxpayers that our tax money has been spent to built a jail that appears to have been purpose built for a group of political protesters who stood up against the gravest crimes against democracy – the expulsion of the judiciary, the expulsion of the Opposition, and now are serving jail time because of it.”

The new jail, on the crest of Nauru island, was only recently completed….(PACNEWS)