23 Apr 2007

Fiji military upholds travel ban imposed on Qarase last December

5:47 pm on 23 April 2007

Fiji's military says the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, will not be allowed to travel to Suva to attend his court case against the overthrow of his government for the present.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has told Radio Legend that until such time as the court orders that Mr Qarase needs to be present, he will have to remain on his home island, Vanuabalavu.

Major Neumi Leweni says they understand that the trial proper is not until late June or July and when then that time comes, the military will be able to say more on the issue.

Major Leweni has confirmed that the military lawyers did not meet with Mr Qarase's counsel, Tevita Fa, to discuss his presence in the court on these grounds.

The acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, had earlier ordered lawyers for the plaintiff, the military and the state to meet and discuss Mr Qarase's presence before the next court sitting tomorrow. (Tues)

Mr Fa says they received a letter from the solicitor general's office that the military was not willing to meet with both counsels regarding Mr Qarase.

Mr Fa says he will send a lawyer to meet with Mr Qarase before making further applications in court in relation to Mr Qarase's presence.