12 Jun 2007

Fiji interim administration to appeal court order not to restrict travel of former PM

10:53 am on 12 June 2007

The Office of Fiji's interim attorney general is to appeal a High Court order issued to the administration and the military not to interfere with the deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase's freedom to travel.

The acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, granted the order despite legal arguments by the state lawyer, Chris Pryde, that it wasn't necessary because the Public Emergency Regulations had been lifted and Mr Qarase was free to travel.

Mr Pryde says the state's concern is that the effect of the order will be to prevent the police from carrying out their duties to investigate Mr Qarase.

Early this year police began investigating Mr Qarase for allegedly requesting military intervention in Fiji from Australia and New Zealand at the time of the coup - an act which was described as treasonous under the law.

Mr Pryde says by granting the order, the High Court has placed Mr Qarase above the law and set a dangerous precedent.

He says no person should be above the law and the police should be free to act as they see fit without interference from the courts.

Mr Pryde says although they will appeal the order because it is wrong in law, Mr Qarase will be free to travel as he wishes.