19 Jan 2004

Australian claim of Nauru detaining refugees deemed absurd

8:09 am on 19 January 2004

A lawyer acting for the detained asylum seekers in Nauru says it's absurd for the Australian government to claim in court that the Afghans are being kept in detention by the Nauru government.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is hearing the case brought by Eric Vadarlis who claims that Australia is holding the asylum seekers unlawfully.

The government's lawyer says there is no jurisdiction for an Australian court to hear the case but the director of the campaign group, A Just Australia, Howard Glenn, disagrees.

"It's a legal fiction to say that Nauru is holding these people. In fact Nauru stood up to the Australian government because they didn't think they were being paid to have people die with a hunger strike there. That really disturbed even the fully paid government of Nauru."

Howard Glenn