23 Jul 2009

Fiji police lay charges in bid to stop Methodist Church conference

4:54 pm on 23 July 2009

Fiji police have charged the paramount chief Ro Teimumu Kepa and two top Methodist Church ministers with defying the Public Emergency Regulation.

The church president, the Reverend Ame Tugaue, and the secretary general, the Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, have been charged with contravening orders by organising a meeting last week with two church figures that the interim regime wants to have expelled from the Methodists' leadership.

Ro Teimumu has been charged with inciting the people of her home province Rewa by publishing a letter on the internet which invited the church for its annual conference after the interim regime had banned the gathering.

The three have been released on bail and made to surrender their passports.

They are due back in court in three weeks to enter a plea.

Although the annual Methodist conference has been banned by the interim regime, there has been no official church statement yet to call off the event.