5 Nov 2009

Academic in Fiji ordered to leave

6:49 am on 5 November 2009

One of Australia's leading experts on Fiji has been given 24 hours to leave the Pacific nation after giving media interviews on the current political stand-off.

Professor Brij Lal's expulsion is the latest directive to come from Fiji's military regime, just a day after it gave similar marching orders to the top diplomats from Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Lal, a long-serving academic at Canberra's Australian National University, was taken into custody on yesterday from his home in the Fiji capital of Suva.

There was no explanation for his detention, but it came shortly after Professor Lal gave comments to AAP and various other media outlets on Fiji's latest political drama.

He accused Fiji and its leader, self-appointed interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, of trying to boost the military's position in Fiji by ousting the Australian and New Zealand representatives.

Shortly afterwards, Professor Lal was being questioned by military officials and told to leave the country, according to media reports.