5 Mar 2004

New Zealander arrested for handing out banned newspaper in Tonga released on bail

11:20 am on 5 March 2004

A New Zealander arrested for distributing and importing an unlicencsed publication in Tonga has been released on bail and will appear before the Supreme Court on March the 24th.

Alan Taione who had travelled to Tonga for his father's funeral, was arrested last month after handing out copies of the Taimi o Tonga newspaper at the Fua'amotu International airport.

Tongan police say Taione has been handed his passport and has been allowed to return to New Zealand on the condition he returns to the kingdom by March the 22nd.

Taione was arrested under the Newspapers Act, one of three controversial legislative moves late last year, which critics say impinges on Freedom of speech and freedom of the press.