12 Mar 2007

Fiji police to interview deposed prime minister over treason allegations today

11:04 am on 12 March 2007

Two senior police officers in Fiji have travelled to the island of Vanuabalavu to interview the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, on allegations that he may have committed treason.

They relate to Mr Qarase's alleged request to Australia and New Zealand to send troops to keep his government in power.

Although Mr Qarase denied making such a request, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, and his new Zealand counterpart, Helen Clark, confirmed receiving the request at the time and turned it down.

The Sunday Times quotes Mr Qarase as saying they have stopped investigations against the commander but are trying to frame him.

Mr Qarase says the police are no longer independent because they have succumbed to military pressure and the same law is applied differently.

He says "it's hypocrisy, an abuse of power and totally unacceptable."

The acting assistant police commissioner crime, Josaia Rasiga, said last month that instigating an invasion was a crime against the Penal Code and anyone doing so could be charged with treason if there is evidence