16 Jul 2007

NZ foundation dismayed at Fiji travel ban imposed on top lawyer

3:14 pm on 16 July 2007

The head of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation in New Zealand says he's dismayed at a travel ban preventing a high-profile Fiji lawyer from speaking in Wellington tomorrow.

Graham Leung, the former head of the Fiji Law Society, and a former Electoral Commissioner there, plans to challenge the travel ban imposed on him by Fiji's interim government.

He had been due to speak at the Pacific Cooperation Foundation's conference on Fiji but was turned away by customs officers when he tried to fly to New Zealand this morning.

The Foundation's Executive Director, Vince McBride, says Mr Leung is an outspoken critic of the military regime and the ban is a blow for free speech.

"We're very disappointed because he's got some fairly strong opinions and because it would have been good to have his views on the table as the person who would have previously overseen the election process in Fiji."

The Executive Director of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, Vince McBride.