23 Jul 2013

Destroyed IDs makes charging Nauru rioters a problem

7:32 pm on 23 July 2013

Asylum seekers being held over a riot at a detention centre in Nauru have not yet been charged because their identity papers were destroyed by fire.

Most of the Australian-run centre was burnt to the ground on Friday night, at an estimated cost of $70 million.

Nauru's resident magistrate Peter Law says of the 540 men being held in the camp, 152 have been been detained and will face court on Wednesday.

He says he has given the police more time to prepare charges because it has been difficult to establish the identity of those involved.

Some of the asylum seekers could be charged with arson, which carries a maximum life sentence.

The riot began on Friday as a peaceful protest over the slow processing of claims.