15 May 2006

Former Solomons cabinet minister back in police custody after being charged over riots

3:20 pm on 15 May 2006

A former government minister in Solomon Islands has been arrested and charged with arson and inciting last month's riots in the capital Honiara.

Prominent businessman Alex Bartlett was arrested on Friday and remanded in custody when he appeared in court over the weekend.

He was charged with one count of inciting a riot and two counts of arson.

Police allege that on April 18th, after riots broke out over the election of Snyder Rini as prime minister, Mr Bartlett instructed another man to burn down a building in Chinatown, most of which ended up being destroyed in the riots.

Mr Bartlett is a former foreign minister and agriculture minister, who is already facing charges including arson, procuring arson, possession of firearms, and demanding money with menace.

He was released on bail for health reasons in February after 17 months in detention.