27 Feb 2008

Fiji Sun publisher deported despite High Court order to stop his expulsion

9:43 am on 27 February 2008

The Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter was deported yesterday despite an order issued by the High Court to stop his expulsion.

Mr Hunter, an Australian citizen, was taken from his home on Monday night and kept in custody until he was placed on the 9am flight out of Nadi to Sydney yesterday.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The Fiji Times reports a High Court injunction prohibiting Mr Hunter's deportation was signed by Justice Jiten Singh. It ordered the Director of Immigration, his servants, officers and agents or whosoever and howsoever to restrain from removing or deporting Mr Hunter out of Fiji. Mr Hunter's lawyer was in a meeting yesterday afternoon and could not confirm when the injunction had been delivered to the Immigration Department, the interim Attorney-General and the other agents. But a source at Nadi Airport said they received a call from a High Court clerk in Suva saying there was a court order to stop the flight. But the source said the officials spoke to the wrong people who had no power to stop the flight. Meanwhile a statement issued by the interim Government said Mr Hunter was a prohibited immigrant. It went on to say Mr Hunter was conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, security and stability of the sovereign state of the Fiji Islands."