News National Nauru blocks transfer of mentally ill refugee to Australia despite Federal Court order

Nauru blocks transfer of mentally ill refugee to Australia despite Federal Court order

The court was told the woman would be flown out on a commercial flight on Friday. Photo: ABC News
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The government of Nauru has blocked the medical evacuation of a refugee needing urgent psychiatric treatment from the island, despite court orders stipulating the federal government bring her to Australia for treatment.

An urgent Federal Court hearing this afternoon was told the failure to transfer the woman to Australia left the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and the Commonwealth in breach of court orders made on Monday.

The court has heard a senior member of the government of Nauru refused to grant approval for the refugee and her brother to be transferred via air ambulance, deeming it not a medical emergency.

The lawyer acting for the federal government said the commonwealth was working very hard to comply with the orders, in what was a sensitive diplomatic matter.

Nauru is hosting the Pacific Island Forum. Photo: AP

It comes as Nauru hosts the Pacific Island Forum aimed at fostering stronger ties for Pacific Island nations.

The lawyer acting for the Home Affairs Minister said the Nauruan government was sensitive to the perception people were not treated well and do not receive adequate treatment on the island.

The government of Nauruan President Baron Waqa has blocked the woman’s passage. Photo: AP

The court was told arrangements have now been made for the woman to be flown out on a commercial flight on Friday to a hospital in New South Wales for treatment.

Federal Court Justice Debbie Mortimer amended the court orders to give the federal government until Saturday morning to complete the transfer.

ABC