29 Jan 2004

Nauru attorney-general says he's yet to sight asylum-seekers' lawyer's visa application

6:18 pm on 29 January 2004

The acting attorney-general for Nauru says the visa application process to visit his country is complicated, and one that no one department has complete responsibility for.

Lionel Aingimea's comments come amid claims by human rights and aid workers that their applications to visit Nauru to meet with the Afghan asylum-seekers detained there, are being denied arbitrarily.

Mr Aingimea says an application must be sponsored by a resident, and then is processed by differing departments, depending on what the would-be visitor's occupation is.

He says, as attorney-general, he deals only with applications from lawyers, and the chief justice has final approval of a lawyer's application.

Mr Aingimea says an application may have to go through the immigration and police departments before he sees it.

Meanwhile, Mr Aingimea says he has not yet sighted a visitor's application from the Australian lawyer, Eric Vadarlis, who says he wants to visit the detainees, who he believes are being held unconstitutionally.