By Adam Connors
Two Nauruan opposition MPs remanded in custody for nearly a month for their role in a rally outside the country’s parliament in June were among seven people released on bail on Friday.
Three other people were released without charge.
The ABC has confirmed with the Nauruan government that former president Sprent Dabwido, who suffered a heart attack in custody on Tuesday, and fellow MP Squire Jeremiah have been released pending a court appearance most likely in August.
Opposition supporters have also confirmed that Mr Dabwido did not attend the bail hearing as he remains in Nauru’s RON Hospital after suffering what his fellow MP’s wife said was a minor heart attack.
The ABC has been told that he will remain at RON Hospital until Sunday, at the very least.
Mr Dabwido’s sister, Marelda, told the Pacific Beat program before the bail hearing that the MP’s incarceration was “ridiculous”.
“Being kept there for one month to me is totally ridiculous … regarding his medical condition, but there’s nothing else we can do,” she said.
The two opposition MPs have been held in custody since June 19 to face charges arising from a rally outside parliament that the government termed a riot.
The protests called for the opposition to be permitted to take their seats in parliament, denied to them since mid-2014, and in response to corruption allegations against president Baron Waqa and justice minister David Adeang.
Another suspended MP, Mathew Batsiua, has also been charged over the protests but was held only briefly in custody.
A fourth, Roland Kun, has had his passport revoked and has not been able to leave Nauru to return to his family in New Zealand where he is the primary caregiver.
The New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) has raised concerns about the two MPs remaining in jail on remand for the past month.
It is claimed the MPs had been unable to get legal representation because their overseas lawyer has had his visa application denied by the government.
The head of the NZLS rule of law committee, Austin Forbes, said they would approach New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully on Friday to express their concerns.
Last Friday, Mr McCully said he had asked his ministry officials to go over concerns with Nauruan authorities before it would renew the aid funding of Nauru’s legal service, which is due next month.
(This is an updated version following clarification of the number of bailed/released people by the Nauru government on July 18, 2015)
Original story at ABC News