15 May 2007

Fiji's deposed prime minister defies military warning not to speak out

7:37 pm on 15 May 2007

Fiji's deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he will not heed a warning from the military to shut up or risk being thrown into prison.

The threat was delivered to a member of Mr Qarase's SDL party, who was taken to the military camp and warned of what would happen if people kept speaking out.

Mr Qarase, who's confined to his home village in the Lau group under the current state of emergency, is refusing to bow to the military's demands and says he has basic human rights under the constitution.

He says that includes freedom of expression and he will continue saying what needs to be said.

"I have been speaking the truth, and nothing is better than the truth so I have no intention of shutting up because I have my freedom and I think I have a duty to perform, by expressing my views."

Laisenia Qarase, the deposed prime minister of Fiji.

The military could not be contacted for comment.