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Issue #1734      June 8, 2016

Trumped up charges

Nauruan police have arrested a 39-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Hamid Nadaf, on trumped up charges of “threatening behaviour.”

Hamid was arrested on Friday afternoon, June 3, around 4pm, near the family compound RPC3, and is now being held in the Nauru jail.

Hamid, his wife and eight-year-old son have been in detention on Nauru since February 2014, and he has played a very active role in the daily protests in the Nauru family compound RPC3, since March 20 this year.

The police have refused to allow Hamid’s wife to see him and have told her that he will be held and brought before the court on June 13.

Asylum seekers and refugees on the island see his arrest as a clear case of victimisation and an attempt to stifle the daily protests that have spread to refugee compounds across the island. Today (June 5) will be the 78th day of protest in the family camp.

Protests on Nauru have declared that Hamid is innocent and are calling for his release. (Videos available on request.)

Police say they are acting on a complaint by a Nauruan citizen who felt “threatened” when they read the contents of a letter that supposedly fell from Hamid’s pocket when he was riding a motor-bike.

The supposed letter has not been disclosed and in any case Hamid is not able to write in English.

Hamid’s arrest seems to be part of new police tactics to intimidate the protesters, now that “attempting suicide” is no longer a criminal offence.

An Iraqi man was arrested, in similar circumstances to Hamid’s, on May 6, on the basis of a complaint to Nauruan police that the man had made threats to “set fire” or “make an explosion” on Nauru.

“Hamid’s arrest has angered asylum seekers and refugees on the island and has ensured the protests will grow louder and spread further,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“It has also exposed the lack of the rule of law on Nauru, with the police acting as an unaccountable extension of the Nauruan and Australian governments. Hamid and the Iraqi man should be freed immediately.”

Next article – Film review – Florence Foster Jenkins

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