16 Feb 2007

Fiji's ousted PM says military is setting him up

7:56 pm on 16 February 2007

Fiji's deposed Prime Minister claims the military wants to frame him for treason and jail him for life.

The police are investigating claims by the military that Laisenia Qarase requested foreign military intervention from New Zealand and Australia when his government was overthrown last year.

Under Fiji's penal code anyone instigating a foreign invasion of the country is liable to be charged with treason.

However Mr Qarase denies the allegations, saying he never invited military intervention on behalf of the government, and merely made inquiries about what the two countries could offer.

He says that as prime minister he had no authority to seek armed intervention, because that was a matter for cabinet.

Mr Qarase claims the issue never even reached cabinet, but the military's bent on getting rid of him.

"They have got a fix on getting rid of me somehow and I'm sure they are going to work something out and frame me for something that I did not do."

Mr Qarase says he can't see how he can be charged with trying to overthrow a government when he headed the legitimate government at the time.

And he's vowing to fight the military all the way.