25 Jan 2007

Military denies report that prominent lawyer beaten up after comments about president

2:39 pm on 25 January 2007

Fiji's military is denying reports that prominent Suva lawyer Richard Naidu was assaulted by soldiers and dropped 8km away to find his way home.

Reliable sources say Mr Naidu is seeking legal advice following the incident late on Tuesday night.

He had been apprehended by soldiers and taken to the barracks for questioning over comments he had made implying that the president was the military's puppet.

The military's spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, denies any suggestion Mr Naidu was mistreated.

He says he was not beaten up but merely taken in for questioning.

Major Leweni says he could not confirm whether or not Mr Naidu was dropped off 8 kilometres from his home.

He refused to say whether Mr Naidu would be added to the military's blacklist of people who have been banned from overseas travel.