The police showed up at the Nauruan home of Peter Law, the country’s only magistrate and Supreme Court registrar, yesterday morning. He was told he had to be on the next plane off the island.
“I said to somebody I’d get better treatment in the Congo, you know, because I seriously was jostled and pushed by the arresting officer,” the Australian told the ABC’s AM this morning.
Meanwhile, Nauru President Baron Waqa — upset at a decision the court had taken to apply an injunction against a government move to expel two residents as “prohibited immigrants” — was cancelling the visa of Supreme Court chief justice Geoffrey Eames. The fellow Australian is now stranded, unable to return to Nauru to deal with the matter.
Eames has said in a statement the actions are “politically motivated, designed to have the decisions overturned by a new magistrate and amounted to an abuse of the rule of law”. An outrageous one at that. What else could you say about a government dismissing the entire judicial pillar in a nation that’s supposed to uphold the separation of powers?
Eames is considering appealing the decision to the High Court of Australia, which has jurisdiction over the Nauruan system. But the Australian government is going to have to get involved, too. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop might be a little gun shy about questions of sovereignty right now, might not want to make waves with a country that is supporting the government’s asylum seeker “solution” (a number of asylum seeker detainees are also on charges for rioting in 2012 — their fate remains in limbo). But to say nothing is complicity we wouldn’t usually stand for.
We await a response …