31 Jul 2002

Suit over wrongful imprisonment arousing high interest in Tonga

7:14 pm on 31 July 2002

The editor of the Taimi o Tonga newspaper, Mateni Tapueluelu, says there is high public interest in a court case brought by three people against the government over wrongful imprisonment.

Pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva; Taimi o Tonga publisher, Kalafi Moala and former editor Filokalafi Akau'ola were imprisoned on contempt of parliament charges in 1996.

They were released after their jailing was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme court.

Mateni Tapueluelu says the Supreme Court ruling had made people realise that that traditional show of power may not be lawful.

Mr Tapueluelu says everyone in the country is following the case.

"It is certainly the talk of the town because this case has been around for sometime and the people have been waiting to know the result of it. It has been a high profile case because the three ended up in prison for sometime and it has been delayed for years now.."

Mateni Tapueluelu says he would also want to know if taxpayers would pay for compensation to plaintiffs if the government lost the case.

The case is expected to be finished by tomorrow.