6 Dec 2005

United States asking if Fiji minister is terrorist - report

9:19 am on 6 December 2005

The United States embassy in Fiji has sought the opinion of the Citizens Constitutional Forum whether the minister for transport, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, is a terrorist under US law.

Fiji TV reports that the CCF has confirmed receiving the request which it says was initiated by the US embassy.

In the light of international travel restrictions on terrorists, Fiji TV says it has obtained a letter written by the CCF on the issue signed by its executive director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki.

The letter shows that according to the CCF, Ratu Naiqama and government senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri were convicted of coup related offences and therefore were terrorists under US law.

As a watchdog of society, the CCF says it is obliged to provide information requested by its donors to ensure that law and order is maintained.

A CCF spokesman, Jone Dakuvula, says they responded to a request from the US embassy but he didn't want to go into personalities.

Senator Dimuri says while he and Ratu Naiqama were convicted for illegal assembly during the Labasa army mutiny, it was front-liners like George Speight who are likely to be implicated as terrorists.