Nauru riot charges withdrawn

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Prosecutors on Nauru have withdrawn all charges against 10 asylum seekers relating to a riot last year in the Australian-funded detention camp that resulted in $25,000 damage.

The case against the 10 men collapsed after the cross examination of witnesses, although the reasons were not stated in court.

The charges are separate from a riot July 19 riot at the main Topside camp where most of the buildings were destroyed by fire, causing an estimated $60 million damage.

Two of the 119 men charged in the second riot had been refused bail and held in Nauru’s prison because they also faced charges relating to first riot.

Nauru’s justice system is struggling to cope, with Australian lawyers assisting with the defence cases and calls for Australia to rebuild the tiny local court.

Melbourne solicitor Sam Norton from law firm Stary Lawyers conducted cross examination of the witnesses.

There was inadequate evidence to identify the accused men.

The Rudd government has committed $17 million to rebuilding the prison, where men held after the second riot were crowded 11 to 14 to a cell.

A Nauru government spokeswoman said more detail on the dropped charges would be provided in a statement later on Monday.

Meanwhile, a third group of asylum seeker families and children landed on the island.

The families were mostly Iranian and made up of nine women, eight men and seven children.

The youngest is a six year old, said a statement from Nauru’s government, with 11 other children and parents moved to Nauru on Saturday.

A group of 34 single adult males was also sent from Nauru to the Curtin detention centre at the weekend.

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