#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Fiji Freedom Writers Speak out: "Common sight for police to be peeping into living rooms"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fiji Freedom Writers Speak out: "Common sight for police to be peeping into living rooms"

This Fijian national gave this account to Coupfourpointfive, of some of the events unfolding in Suva, today.

He says it's a common sight now at night for police to be peeping into the living room windows of people they're keeping an eye on.

He says vans with plainclothes men - army officers for sure - are doing the rounds at night, using walkie talkies and mobiles to communicate:

Fiji Law Society President, Dorsami Naidu, was arrested by police this morning from in front of Lautoka High Court. We believe it is over his comments to ABC's Sean Dorney and Radio New Zealand. A group of lawyers and court clerks - a very large gathering - were outside Lautoka Court but were prevented from entering. The court house is being guarded by police.

As of this moment, Dorsami Naidu is still being quested at Lautoka Police Station. The other lawyers are waiting for him in a nearby restaurant. He was still awaiting to be questioned. The court clerks were also not allowed inside today to report for work. They have been locked out, along with the judges.

Edwin Nand - the Fiji TV reporter - was questioned last night and at 10pm ordered by Waisea Tabakau to be locked up at the Central Police Station. He is alleged to have breached the publication and broadcasting provisions of the Public Emergency Regulations. The cell entry just shows arrested under PER.

This morning, the lawyer for Fiji TV was told he would be released this morning. But later in the morning he was told to await further questioning. As of now, he is stil being questioned and was expected to be released this afternoon. Interestingly, he is being questioned over the Sean Dorney footage that appeared on ABC Television. They want to know who authorised the sending of the footage to ABC.

Savenaca Narube was given a termination letter last night. He was told not to go to his office and vacate the Governor's Residence as soon as possible. Soldiers were seen at Reserve Bank and it is reported Narube went to the office, but whether he was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks is unclear.

The director of public prosecutions, Josaia Naguilevu, was initially put under house arrest but we understand he, too, has been sacked. The DPP's office, next to Fiji TV, is under guard with no one allowed inside, including other oficers.

Justice Filimoni Jitoko is under house arrest as well. Thomas Hickie, another judge, was monitored through Easter, with an unmarked car outside his house at all times.

Fiji Times Western photograther, Jai Prasad, was also arrested, detained briefly and released. He was taking pictures outside the Lautoka Courthouse. A team of police officers were also sent to the Times newsroom armed with a search warrant to search the premises for his camera - the idea was to confiscate it and remove the film.

They refused to allow the Times newsroom staff to photocopy the search warrant signed by a former Lautoka City Councillor Councillor (lady) and OBVIOUSLY FIJI LABOUR PARTY.

1 comment:

Pacific in the Media said...

Greetings:

My name is Ryan Allen Hancock, Esq. and I am an international human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Rule of Law Institute (ROLI).

The Rule of Law Institute (ROLI) aims to defend constitutional democracy wherever it is threatened. ROLI promotes principles of separated and balanced powers among government authorities, judicial independence, free and open media, and individual rights consistent with international norms, through policy and legal analysis, private diplomacy, investigative & fact-finding delegations, and public education efforts.

For example, ROLI supported the lawyers and judges of Pakistan following President Musharraf’s suspension of Pakistan’s Constitution and sacking of the judiciary in 2007. As you may know, the lawyers successfully agitated for the removal of the military ruler and reinstatement of the entire judiciary. Specifically, ROLI members traveled to Pakistan on a fact finding mission. Following the fact finding delegation we compiled and co-authored a report entitled Defending Dictatorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Pakistan's Struggle for Democracy. We also hosted a speaking tour in the United States featuring the leaders of the "Lawyers Movement" as well as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The speaking tours addressed over 1,500 people in 24 audiences from a wide range of institutions. The delegation addressed:

(a) government representatives from the Department of State and House Committee on Foreign Affairs;

(b) bar associations in New York, Philadelphia and the National Lawyers Guild;

(c) policy analysts at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Center for Strategic and International Studies;

(d) journalists from BBC, NPR, legal publications, Voice of America, local newspapers and international and Pakistani media;

(e) legal academic communities at NYU, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers-Camden, American University Washington College of Law and Brooklyn Law School; and

(f) human rights group Amnesty International.

Unfortunately, it seems that Fiji has recently suffered a similar fate. Therefore, I am writing to let you know that ROLI has started to document the situation in Fiji. Further, we would like to know how we can most effectively support the rule of law, an independent judiciary and media in Fiji.


Respectfully,

Ryan Hancock, Esq.
Rule of Law Institute (ROLI)

EDITOR'S NOTE: EMAIL ADDRESS FOR RYAN AVAILABLE ON REQUEST