26 Mar 2015

Lal to test the waters on Fiji ban

3:18 pm on 26 March 2015

An academic who's been banned from returning to his homeland of Fiji says he will test the waters and has reapplied to get back in.

Fiji's Minister of Immigration Timoci Natuva has told Fiji One News Brij Lal and his wife Padma Lal can apply to have their ban lifted.

Australian National University academic Prof Brij Lal who was deported from Fiji in 2009

Australian National University academic Prof Brij Lal Photo: Supplied

Mr Natuva earlier told parliament the ban would remain indefinitely because of Professor Lal's opposition to the move towards democracy in Fiji.

The couple were deported in 2009 following Professor Lal's vocal criticism of the Bainimarama regime installed via a coup three years earlier.

Professor Lal says if he reapplies the government will have to give him a reason for the order which makes no sense after Fiji's elections last year.

"One of the most frustrating things about all of this is when you write to responsible officials they simply do not respond. No one is prepared to tell you what is happening. They're all looking over their shoulder to see what [the Prime Minister] Frank Bainimarama and his Attorney General (Aiyaz) Sayed-Khaiyum are thinking," said Brij Lal.

Listen to full interview