20 Feb 2006

Vanuatu Internal Affairs minister defends Ayamiseba deportation order

8:10 pm on 20 February 2006

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs minister, George Wells, has defended his decision to have Papuan independence activist Andy Ayamiseba deported.

Mr Wells has been summoned to file a sworn statement about his reasons for the deportation in court where Mr Ayamiseba is challenging the order.

No official reason was given for the Papuan's sudden deportation earlier this month, which failed when neither Australia or Solomon Islands would accept him.

His lawyer, Felix Kabini, is also preparing a constitutional application to the Chief Justice to challenge the Immigration law amendment under which this deportation order was served.

But Mr Wells has defended the amendment, which gives the minister the power to deport anyone without notice if they're considered detrimental to national security or public order.

"So we use that power to deport Andy, based on his residential status and his public influence in the politics of Vanuatu. So we used that law as we did a few months ago with William Chong, resident from Singapore."

Mr Wells is expected to testify in court on Wednesday.