5 Mar 2008

Fiji coup legal challenge finally underway

7:37 pm on 5 March 2008

Deposed Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's challenge to the legality of the military coup in late 2006 got underway in Suva today.

Our Fiji correspondent, Matelita Ragogo, says Mr Qarase's legal team expressed disappointment the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama would not appear, but indicated other members of the interim government would be called.

She says Mr Qarase wants the three judge panel to rule that Commodore Bainimarama acted illegally and outside of the constitution in removing him from office.

"And it just follows that everything else, all the other appointments after that basically are illegal and really shouldn't continue. That he still is the Prime Minister and he should be returned to power. It was not said in court but in previous statements Mr Qarase has always argued that he should return to office and see the election through."