19 Sep 2016

Fiji NGO adamant its constitution meeting was legal

12:21 pm on 19 September 2016

The Fiji group Pacific Dialogue says it needed no permit for a church hall meeting near Suva two weeks ago after which six prominent people, including two former prime ministers, were arrested.

Fiji constitution

Fiji constitution Photo: supplied

The case of the six is now with the public prosecutor who will decide if they held an unauthorised meeting and if their discussion about the 2013 constitution imperiled the safety of the state - breaches punishable with up to two years in prison.

The chairman of Pacific Dialogue Jone Dakuvula said no permit was required to meet in church for a charitable event and to which the prime minister was also invited.

In a statememt, Mr Dakuvula said the policemen who interviewed him said direction was given 'right from the top'.

He asked why police recording the meeting didn't stop it if it was illegal.

And Mr Dakuvula wondered who complained to the police and why it took them six days to carry out the arrests.

He said the episode showed Fiji was being converted in to a dictatorship after steeply declining from the true liberal democracy it had before the 2006 Coup.

The six men being investigated are Attar Singh, Biman Prasad, Mahendra Chaudhry, Sitiveni Rabuka, Tupeni Baba and Jone Dakuvula.

A group of people wait to hear about the detainees yesterday, as Attar Singh's lawyer Raman Singh ( white shirt )  receives a call.

A group of people wait in Suva to hear about the detainees Photo: RNZI / Alex Perrottet

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