Dead Fiji woman was worried about threats
A New Zealand woman who died at the weekend in Fiji was concerned for her safety and security after a warning from the Fiji Rugby Union to close down a charity she set up.
A New Zealand woman who died at the weekend in Fiji was concerned for her safety and security after the Fiji Rugby Union warned her to close down her charity.
That's according to a Facebook user, Shailendra Raju, who was in touch with her late on Friday.
The Fiji police say Julie Alexander was admitted to hospital on Saturday night and her death on Sunday has been classified as attempted suicide.
Mr Raju, who was an aide to the former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, says he offered support to Ms Alexander via Facebook on Friday evening.
He told Sally Round the Fiji-born philanthropist was worried about repeated threats against her amid a standoff with the Union and its chairman Francis Kean over a rugby academy which she was setting up.
SHAILENDRA RAJU: I only came to know Julie on Friday night at around ten o'clock when there was a Facebook posting relating to her email response to the Fiji Rugby Union's threat to close down the academy she was running. So we became friends on Facebook and there was repeated reference on social media about her security situation and my chat with her at around ten o'clock on Friday was around what was going on and the security risk that she had. She did indicate in that brief chat that her internet was gone. I don't know what that really meant but it seems that she had deep concerns about her security and safety.
SALLY ROUND: What were the threats that she made known to you?
S RAJU: Not specifically though but in cooperation with other postings she did on her own Facebook page, she mentioned repeated threats and the word she used was "so many threats" so from that one can easily make out that there were repeated threats made against her for the stance that she took against the Fiji Rugby Union.
S ROUND: And what was she actually trying to do as far as you're aware?
S RAJU: From the limited information that I have I understand she was running a private rugby academy which was funded by some former All Blacks which was the centre of this controversy. Judging by the letter written by Francis Kean, the chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union on the 24th of November, they wanted that academy shut down. It appears that the tussle really was to control the funding that was coming to the academy because why would the Fiji Rugby Union want to shut down a privately run institution which was only advancing the cause of rugby in Fiji? And from the tone of the letter Francis Kean wrote on the 24th of November it was clear that under no circumstances they would allow Julie to continue operating in Fiji as far as the academy was concerned.
S ROUND: Did she discuss with you in that limited time period about the funding and where she was getting money from?
S RAJU: No she didn't say anything about that. The conversation was very limited. It was mainly around her security and I think she was reaching out to have the information put out in the public to probably reduce the level of risk that she was facing and I think, given that I didn't know her prior to that brief conversation, tells me that she was desperate for external help and support. The question is whether she was threatened to a level where she had to take her own life. She mentioned the internet service where she was residing was gone, whether the authorities in Fiji (were) cutting her off, isolating her and threatened her to an extent she took her own life, those are the issues that the New Zealand government and the authorities in Fiji should clarify because it seems that having an opposing view in Fiji is a crime and if you oppose the government or have a view which is not consistent with what the government wants then you are at risk.
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