Suspended Nauru MP awaits ruling on cancelled passport
A suspended Nauru opposition MP Roland Kun who's being prevented from leaving Nauru says he's been told he's under criminal investigation.
A suspended Nauru opposition MP, Roland Kun, who is being prevented from leaving Nauru, says he's been told he's under criminal investigation.
Mr Kun is among five opposition MPs who are suspended from parliament since last year and, following recent anti-government protests on the island, are either facing criminal charges or have had their passports cancelled .
Mr Kun is taking the government to court over his cancelled passport and Nauru's Supreme Court is due to hear his case on Friday.
He told Sally Round the Minister of Justice David Adeang has written to him telling him why his passport was cancelled.
ROLAND KUN: Since the cancellation, I received a letter from the minister confirming that he directed the cancellation of my passport with very vague reasons provided. I was deemed a security risk to the nation and the other reason is that there's criminal investigations on the way that I am directly linked to. And there was no further detail provided.
SALLY ROUND: A security risk to the nation, in what way?
RK: I have absolutely no idea, apart from going back to my original suspension from parliament which is according to government speaking to international media and in so doing, influencing decision-making of the main donor partners, being Australia and New Zealand which is just nonsense as far as I'm concerned.
SR: Is it a concern do you believe for the Nauru government that you actually live in New Zealand now?
RK: No, I think part of the reason why they've cancelled my passport and are trying to hold me on Nauru is because they know that my family lives in New Zealand and the government is forcing a separation of my family to put me and my family into hardship - that is very deliberate on their part. There's no real concern that I'm actually speaking to the New Zealand government directly. That is a fabricated story that the government has come up with to drum up sympathy on the island.
SR: You've heard that?
RK: Yes, that is what the government has actually said in their statements in parliament. I've heard that from locals who have asked me about it because that is what the government is saying underground. And yes that is pretty much now the propaganda that has been spun by the government, not only against me but against the two other members who are suspended for the same reason - Honourable Matthew Batsuia and Honourable Kieran Keke.
SR: Given that you're an MP, it would be reasonable to assume that the New Zealand government might want to talk to you while you're in New Zealand. Have you had any talks with them?
RK: No, I have not had any talks with the New Zealand government. We have spoken in media in regards to Nauru government's lack of regard for rule of law. That's the limit of what I have done and it has nothing to do with where I am at at any point of time. That is just what members of opposition do in a democratic system: you raise issues where issues need to be raised in terms of the government of the day. My family cannot live on Nauru because my wife is not allowed on Nauru by the current government. They are very much aware of where we are and why we are where we are, and now they're purporting to hold me on island as a deliberate way pf punishing me and making life difficult for me and my family.
SR: And do you understand that there are further investigations going on, criminal investigations into your activities?
RK: Well that is what is stated in the minister's letter to me. I am not aware of any criminal investigations. I've not been charged with anything. I've just merely been placed on island arrest for something that government has dreamed up. And it would appear they've now presumed me guilty of some crime I am not aware of and are quite prepared to start dishing out their punishment before any crime is proven. But no, I'm not in a position to answer any of their allegations because they have not given detail to their allegations and I'm not aware where they're coming from.
SR: Are you expecting to be arrested?
RK: I would be very surprised if I was arrested. I've not done anything wrong.
SR: And what is this like for you personally, being split from your family?
RK: It is very difficult. I have a young family. I'm the fulltime carer for my young family, the youngest of whom is only eighteen months old. my wife works fulltime. She is the breadwinner for our family. The government had earlier withheld all my entitlements and salaries as a member of parliament on Nauru. we're dependent on my wife's job to provide us our bread and butter. This now puts us in a very difficult situation.
SR: So if you do succeed in getting out, if you get your passport back, will you go back to Nauru?
RK: Well, if I succeed in getting out and joining my family in Wellington, I will immediately take that opportunity. I need to be with my family. As to coming back to Nauru: I hate to think that I'd fear coming back to Nauru on the basis that the government of nauru is just going to continuously disregard basic rights of not just me but all other Nauruan citizens, which is pretty much what I'm now experiencing.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: