20 Feb 2006

Vanuatu Internal Affairs Minister ordered to file sworn statement over deportation order

2:15 pm on 20 February 2006

Vanuatu's Minister for Internal Affairs has reportedly been ordered to file a sworn statement in court about his reasons for deporting Papuan independence activist Andy Ayamiseba.

The minister, George Wells, ordered Mr Ayamiseba's sudden deportation earlier this month, which failed when neither Australia or Solomon Islands would accept him.

No official reason was given for the order, made under a recent amendment to the Immigration Act, which gives the minister the power to deport anyone without notice if they're considered detrimental to national security or public order.

Mr Ayamiseba's lawyer, Felix Kabini, says that as the person who made the order, Mr Wells must state his justifications.

"I made an application on Friday morning to summon the minister to appear and testify in court as to why he wants to deport Andy. The judge called us and he accepted my application. Then the Attorney general asked for an adjournment in order for him to see if the minister will file a sworn statement. So the court gives him until Monday three o'clock."

Felix Kabini says they're preparing a constitutional application to the Chief Justice to challenge the Immigration law amendment.