31 Aug 2015

Bainimarama warns of severe punishment for sedition

3:17 pm on 31 August 2015

Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama has warned of severe punishment and many years in jail for anyone joining attempts to allegedly form a breakaway state or overthrow the government.

Mr Bainimarama's comments came in a weekend speech at the launch of a new government vessel as about 70 people await court appearances for charges of sedition.

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama Photo: Facebook

He says any challenge to his government is an attack on democracy and would not be tolerated.

The prime minister described the people behind insurrections as enemies of the country and would be tracked down and brought to justice.

He pointed to "high profile figures" in Australia who were among the plotters who he described as enemies of a modern Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama also called on people to report any illegal activity and to tell anyone who may be involved they risk spending many years in jail.

The prime minister attacked the opposition party SODELPA for not joining in his condemnation of those he said were threatening the integrity of the nation.

Fiji's SODELPA hits back at Bainimarama

Fiji's SODELPA has hit back at the Prime Minister Frank Bainaimarama saying his threats over sedition are becoming aggressive and similar in tone to his behaviour before the 2006 coup.

Mr Bainimarama attacked the opposition party at the weekend for not joining in his condemnation of those he said were threatening the integrity of the nation.

Up to 70 people are facing court charges for sedition and various offences related to attempts to form a breakaway state in Fiji.

Sodelpa Party Headquarters

Sodelpa Party Headquarters Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

SODELPAs leaders say while the prime minister has warned the citizens of Fiji not to break the law, he refuses to answer for his own lawless behaviour and has hidden behind immunity provisions in the Constitution brought in before the elections last year.

SODELPA says the Prime Minister's urging family and friends to spy and report on each other is typical of the tactics of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

The party says the opposition's overtures for a more collaborative approach have been rejected by Mr Bainimarama and has described the parliament as a facade for democracy.

The party's leaders say the government's strategy using the US based PR company Qorvis and the Fiji Sun is tantamount to a fraud on the nation.

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