15 Apr 2005

Fiji opposition leader calls for aid boycott to protest release of two jailed politicians

10:24 am on 15 April 2005

Fiji's opposition leader is calling on foreign governments to boycott aid to the country after the release of two prominent politicians days after they were jailed for coup related offences.

Mahendra Chaudhry has expressed outrage at the release of the former minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, and government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, to serve their sentences extramurally.

Their release came just 11 days after they were jailed for eight months for their role in the Labasa army mutiny, at the height of the 2000 coup.

Mr Chaudhry, says Pacific aid donors should consider suspending aid and assistance unless Fiji adheres to the rule of law.

"I think it's time the Australian and New Zealand government took notice of what's going on in Fiji. Otherwise if they don't do anything to reverse this very dangerous trend then they're in fact condoning what's happening and they must take part of the responsibility if the situation deteriorates further."

Mr Chauhry says they should not turn a blind eye to the situation when national security is at risk.