Amnesty International has called on the Fiji interim government to drop the Public Emergency Regulations-related charges against a former prime minister after he was accused of failing to seek permission to hold a public meeting.
Mahendra Chaudhry is due in court today for talking to a group of farmers gathered outside one of their homes, which the authorities say was in violation of the emergency rules.
Amnesty says the regulations are being used to deny the Fiji people their right to express their views freely in public about matters that impact on their lives.
It says the regulations, which were invoked after the regime did away with the constitution, give extensive powers to the authorities to detain, fine and imprison those who speak out against the government
The regime had repeatedly promised to lift the restriction once it had imposed a media decree but it has since reneged on the undertaking.