5 May 2008

The Fiji Times publisher says officials aware of court orders against his deportation

11:11 am on 5 May 2008

The Fiji Times publisher, Evan Hannah, says immigration officials in Fiji were well aware of a High court order to stop him being deported.

Mr Hannah, an Australian citizen, was arrested last Thursday night and deported the next day to Sydney via Korea in defiance of the high court instructions.

Fiji's Minister of Defence, National Security & Immigration, said at the time that the removal of Evan Hannah was done according to the law.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau said the Court Order had not been officially received by the Director of Immigration before Mr Hannah was removed from Fiji

But Evan Hannah disputes those comments.

"That's total rubbish. Ratu Epeli was in the VIP arrivals lounge greeting the Commander who got off the Korean airlines flight, he knew what was going on outside because the Australian Consul was trying to be let in to serve him with papers, everybody was serving with papers. He knew what was going on, his officers knew what was going on and the officers back in Suva knew what was going on."

Evan Hannah also says he would be really surprised if the interim prime minister and interim attorney general didn't know what was going on.

When Fiji Sun publisher Russel Hunter was deported in February, the same explanation was given.