6 Sep 2007

Fiji regime threatens ousted PM with renewed internal exile

1:48 pm on 6 September 2007

Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has warned he will send the leaders of the SDL Party into internal exile if they keep criticising the regime.

The SDL leader and ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and its spokesman, Peceli Kinivuwai, are being accused by the military of spreading lies for saying that the military has been making threatening phone calls.

The military commander has told Fijilive that if the two continue with their comments they may be sent to Mr Qarase's home island in the Lau group.

Commodore Bainimarama says the military has been very lenient on Mr Qarase and allowed him to return to Suva for his court case challenging the legality of the military overthrow.

The overthrow of the government in 2000 saw of the coup frontman, George Speight, jailed for his actions after being found guilty of treason.

The interim regime meanwhile is seeking to build a case against Mr Qarase, claiming he committed treason by inviting a foreign military intervention.