15 Sep 2009

Pro-democracy MPs in Tonga blame Sevele govt for 2006 riots

5:52 am on 15 September 2009

Five pro-democracy MPs in Tonga claim the Government of Dr Feleti Sevele was responsible for the destructive riots in Nuku'alofa nearly three years ago.

The five, 'Akilisi Pohiva, Isileli Pulu, 'Uliti Uata, Lepolo Taunisila and Clive Edwards, had been charged with seditious conspiracy following the riots, with accusations that speeches they made at a rally that day led to the rioting.

But the charges have now been thrown out by the Court of Appeal.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says Clive Edwards is still to face a charge of allegedly uttering seditious language.

"He was recorded [allegedly] as having said something to the effect that the people should do something else, and that 'else' was interpreted further when said there should be no peace. The Court of Appeal has ruled that those words means there is a case to answer and that is the only one that is to be processed through the courts."

Mateni Tapueluelu says the pro-democracy MPs are considering legal action to prove their contention the Government was at fault when the rioting happened.