14 Mar 2007

Fiji's deposed prime minister expecting treason charges following police questioning

2:43 pm on 14 March 2007

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister believes he's likely to be charged with treason once the police complete their investigations into him.

Two senior police officers from Suva questioned Laisenia Qarase at his home on Vanuabalavau in Lau for three hours yesterday over treason allegations lodged by the military.

Mr Qarase - who has been in exile since the military takeover last December - says the interview focussed on allegations that he asked for military intervention from New Zealand and Australia while under house arrest in December.

The deposed Prime Minister says the claims are ridiculous, and his legal advice is that there would be no case to answer if there was a proper judicial system in place in Fiji.

"Anything can happen in Fiji these days. The military is a law unto themselves, they are breaking the laws on a daily basis so I won't be surprised if they lay charges against me, but that remains to be seen."

Mr Qarase says he expects to be questioned again because he declined to respond to allegations of a legal nature without his lawyer being present.