The wife of historian Brij Lal, Dr Padma Narsey Lal, was this morning refused entry by the interim regimes' Immigration Department, after she arrived home from Australia.
Dr Padma Lal, who works for the Fiji Office of International Union for Conservation of Nature, arrived at Nadi Airport from Sydney after spending Christmas and New Year at the Lals' Canberra home.
Sources have confirmed to Coupfourpointfive that Dr Lal arrived at Nadi before 7pm on Monday night and was immediately detained by immigration officials. Her laptop and mobile phone were seized and she was taken to a detention house on the outskirts of the airport, where she was under detention for the night.
She was then taken to the airport this morning and put onboard the Sydney flight that departed Nadi before 9am. Sources say immigration authorities refused to return her mobile phone and laptop. She was also refused permission to contact her husband Profesor Lal in Canberra.
Sources add when Dr Lal landed at Sydney Airport before noon today, she was traumatised by the entire experience. She arrived back in Canberra this afternoon.
In early November last year, Professor Brij Lal was arrested at his Suva Point Home and locked up at the Military's Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua after commenting on the expulsion of the New Zealand and Australian High Commission diplomats.
He was physically roughed up and verbally abused, spat at by Lieutenant Sitiveni Qiliho and ordered to leave Fiji within 24 hours.
Sources say Dr Lal had travelled out of Fiji a few days after the expulsion of her husband on work related matters and had returned to Fiji without being harassed or qustioned. She left for Canberra in mid-December.
The Lals have a home in Suva. They are former Fiji residents but hold Australian citizenship. Dr Lal has a valid work permit to work for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Dr Padma Lal has not written or published any political commentaries about the deteriorating Fiji situation since the December 2006 coup.