22 Jul 2009

Fiji police remain silent on detention of church figures

10:48 am on 22 July 2009

The police in Fiji are refusing to give details of the detention of seven senior figures in the Methodist church.

Tension between the church and the interim regime has been steadily growing over the banning of the Methodist's annual conference.

Philippa Tolley has more:

"The interim Prime Minister, Commodore Bainimarama, has insisted that church drop any form of political discussion from its meeting agendas and exclude two outspoken former church presidents. The group was taken in after the church ignored a repeat that its annual gathering was banned and decided at a committee meeting to yet again apply for a permit without agreeing to any of the regime's conditions. The Police Director of Operations insists there is nothing unusual about people being taken in for questioning, especially if they do things to disrupt peace and stability. He says the investigations might take different times depending on who is involved. Other churches are being allowed to hold annual meetings, including the breakaway new Methodist church led by the brother of the Police Commissioner."