17 Oct 2015

Australia returns pregnant refugee to Nauru ahead of court hearing

8:08 pm on 17 October 2015

A Somali woman who became pregnant after she was allegedly raped on Nauru and brought to Australia for an abortion has been flown back to the island.

The Australian government secretly flew the 23-year-old on a chartered jet yesterday, without the abortion having taken place.

In a statement, Australia's immigration minister Peter Dutton says the woman decided not to proceed with the termination, calling claims to the contrary fabrications.

However, the Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul, who says he has spoken to the woman, says she was seeking counselling over the issue first.

"We were in the process of trying to get independent counsellors for her even as that removal process was actually taking place. The government knew that, she's quite insistent that she did not get the counselling."

Ian Rintoul says he believes she was removed to escape the jurisdiction of Australian courts, as her lawyers were on Friday afternoon seeking an injunction to keep her in Australia.

"As soon as we understood that she was being removed we put legal things in place to try and get to the Federal Court as soon as we possibly could. But by the time we got to the court the goverment simply said 'she's already out of Australia' and so we the court had no jurisdiction to be able to deal with the matter."

Ian Rintoul says the woman is now in an extremely vulnerable situation on Nauru.