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Issue #1676      March 11, 2015

Arrested Nauru refugees held

Almost 200 refugees including up to 80 women have been held in detention overnight after mass arrests on Nauru, throughout March 4. The underage children being held by police, including one seven year old who had been arrested early Wednesday morning, were removed from police cells by case workers. However, many then spent the night without their parents who remained in custody.

More information emerged about the draconian police action, including that the police had arrested refugees inside the family compound as early as 4am.

The police action continued throughout the day with a further 50 refugees being arrested outside the police station at Yaren, in the afternoon, as they waited for news of those arrested and demanded their release.

The Nauruan government seems determined to push all those arrested through the court although it is not clear what charges could be laid against them.

“Independent legal and human rights observers are urgently needed on Nauru. The Nauru government is trying to criminalise the refugees. This kind of action is straight out of the Australian Immigration detention handbook”, said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Service providers Connect say they cannot help those arrested. The Nauruan judicial system cannot be called fair or independent given the history of Nauruan governments sacking magistrates and legal officers that defy their wishes.

“This is not the first time that Nauruan police and the courts have been used to trample on the democratic rights of asylum seekers and refugees. Scores of asylum seekers were wrongly arrested and held on trumped up charges after the so-called riots in July 2013.

“The Nauruan government is perpetuating the persecution of refugees who came to Australia seeking protection. It is being paid tens of millions of dollars to maintain a Pacific penal colony on behalf of Australia.”

Refugees at liberty on Nauru have told the Refugee Action Coalition that their campaign of non-cooperation will continue until they get their freedom.

Next article – Competitive market ruining TAFE

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