PNG bishop plans legal action over Tennent deportation

12:42 pm on 20 June 2017

The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea is planning legal action against the acting chief migration officer Solomon Kantha over what it says was the illegal deportation of religious layworker, Doug Tennent.

Mr Tennent was working for the Archbishop of Rabaul, Francesco Panfilo, helping landowners battling a multi-national logger and palm oil company, Rimbunan Hijau.

Mr Tennent, a New Zealander, was bundled onto a plane and deported despite a stay order being presented to immigration personnel by senior church officials, including the Vatican ambassador.

Archbishop Panfilo said from the start of the deportation process the immigration department has broken all the rules.

"So our lawyers advised me and I agree, so the lawyers will file a contempt of court for not obeying the stay order against the acting chief migration officer, and requesting that Mr Doug Tennent be returned to Papua New Guinea as soon as possible."

Last week, PNG media reported Solomon Kantha saying Mr Tennent was free to re-apply for a religious worker's visa, but Archbishop Panfilo said not only was this not appropriate, there was also the risk that he would not be allowed into the country under the same terms as before.

Douglas Tennent

Douglas Tennent Photo: Supplied / Facebook