16 May 2011

Fiji court seeks Tonga extradition of escaped sedition suspect Mara

1:43 pm on 16 May 2011

The magistrates court in Suva in Fiji has this morning issued a warrant for the arrest of Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara who has fled to Tonga breaching his bail terms after being charged with making seditious comments.

Fiji's interim Prime Minister has said he plans to start extradition proceedings to get Ratu Tevita back to face charges

Philippa Tolley is in Fiji and sent this report:

"Along with efforts to secure the return of Ratu Tevita, the police have launched an investigation into who helped the former Commander of the Third Infantry Regiment to escape. The Commodore has described Ratu Tevita as fugitive and said fleeing the country was an act of a despicable nature for someone who had been charged with an offence against Fiji law. Ratu Tevita has sent a message form Tonga saying those in power have been corrupted and not followed through with the original plan to run the country for a short time before returning to barracks. Despite being available on the internet, none of Ratu Tevita's comments are being reported here as newsrooms are still overseen by censors. Speaking to rural people earlier today, most were unaware of what was going on and had no idea of Ratu Tevita's criticisms."