28 Jul 2009

Methodist Church in Fiji is considering its legal position

6:43 am on 28 July 2009

The Methodist Church in Fiji is considering its legal position after the interim government banned its annual conference and charges were laid against four of its leaders.

The detention of Methodists is continuing with several more questioned by police on Monday, after more than 10 were taken into custody last week.

The church says all its members have now been released.

But the Methodist deputy general secretary, Tevita Banivanua, says it is discussing with lawyers how to defend charges that four of its leaders violated a meeting permit.

He says they have also asked whether they can challenge bail conditions preventing the four from attending meetings where the church's annual conference or political issues are being discussed.

"We were told by the lawyer that there is no way according to the decrees that have been given that we can challenge whatever has happened to us. There is no way that we can challenge that legally."

Reverend Banivanua says the church is now seeking a permit to hold its standing committee meeting on Friday, where it may be able to discuss whether to proceed with its annual conference.