Detentions, Beatings Denied: Military Rumours, Chaudhry Denied
Readers are urged to read and comment on the Pillar 1 of the People's Charter and Chapter 1 of the State of the Nation paper
published on Saturday. Scroll down.
N0195. MORE ON THE DETENTIONS. Former SDL Cabinet Minister Sam Speight says he'll seek asylum in Australia. Speight's sister said he'd been treated in Brisbane Hospital after being allegedly beaten by the military in Fiji.
Military Land Forces Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga has denied Speight and others were beaten. "There is no assault or implication, or confirmations of any assault...you know, there would be some minimal force used if people [resist] arrest."
He added that "the mere fact that they have disobeyed the public emergency regulations (PER) is testimony to the fact that they have different agendas." He thought their statements were part of their political agenda.
Clarifying the military's role, he said the military is only involved in arresting people, if police request their help and when the public emergency regulations have been broken. The detentions followed breaches of the PER.
Patrick Holmes, Amnesty International NZ's CEO has replied to may queries about the AI release on the detainees. I'll make a full posting on the release and my reaction once I've had time to consider it more fully, and perhaps get back to Patrick for clarifications.
N0196, EPELI ULUILAKEBA. Click here to read and, if you wish, sign the petition for a review of the case of Fijian Commonwealth soldier and Iraq war hero Epeli Uluilakeba to allow him to remain in the UK.
N0197. FRAENKEL SAYS GOVERNMENT FEELS THREATENED. ANU's Dr Jonathan Fraenkel has attributed the recent spate of detentions to Government insecurity. The police and military have certainly reacted promptly to heightened activity by anti-government bloggers and activists over the past two weeks, but if Bainimarama's tour this week though Vanua Levu is any indication, he is not taking the threats too seriously. A threatened Prime Minister would stay in Suva. But Jonathon's guess —for that is what it is— is no more informed than anyone else's.
N0198. THE RUMOUR MERRY-GO-ROUND. Rumours seem to come around in lunar cycles, the last one being of a split in the military. Its last reincarnation has been denied by RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga who said he knows where the stories are coming from but they have no substance.
"Everybody is focused on working with the Commander and Brigadier Aziz Mohamed in trying to take the RFMF forward and all the officers are committed to doing that.” A rumour last month was that the Brigadier had been dismissed, or was it arrested. Either way, he's still at work.
Speaking of criticisms made about the military Col Tikoitoga admitted there were a few on the blogsites but "we can’t take those people seriously but the Commander when he moves around to villages and other areas, he gets a lot of praises for this government and what it has been doing. You know the civilian community are coming out strong and saying there is a better government than what it was before.” The call from some villages to cancel the 2014 elections is "indicative of what the government is doing."
N0199. CHAUDHRY TOLD NOT THIS TIME. Former PM Mahendra Chaudhry has been denied permission to travel abroad. Justice Daniel Goundar said the court was concerned about Mr Chaudhry's frequency of travel. Chaudhry faces several charges relating to money laundering, tax evasion and giving false information to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority. Judge Goundar said Chaudhry's arraignment had been adjourned several times from the time his case was first heard in July last year. He had been permitted to travel to Hawaii and Australia between December and March and the judge says if he is allowed to travel this time, his arraignment would have to be postponed again.