25 Apr 2006

Solomons' opposition says arrests put parliamentary process under duress

8:22 pm on 25 April 2006

The Solomon Islands Opposition walked out of Parliament today after a second of its MPs, Charles Dausabea, was refused bail on charges of inciting last week's riots.

He is to remain in custody until May the 9th on charges of inciting people to riot, intimidating a hotel security guard, and threatening to destroy a hotel.

A vote of no confidence in the government of Snyder Rini is scheduled for tomorrow but it now may not go ahead.

A senior Opposition politician, Bartholomew Ulufaalu, who's a former Prime Minister, says holding Mr Dausabea in custody along with another MP, Nelson Ne'e, amounts to interference in the political process.

"They should not be prevented from performing the rightful functions of the legislature. That action by the judiciary and the police is seen as putting the members of parliament under duress."

The Prime Minister Snyder Rini rejects the claim that the arrests amount to political interference.

It's not an interference political at all. I mean the security and all that is up to the commissioner [of police] and the arrest is nothing to do with the political government. It is a police operation and we have nothing to do with that - even the government cannot interfer with that.