23 Jul 2009

Fiji's interim leader confirms Methodist leaders in court this afternoon

12:50 pm on 23 July 2009

Fiji's interim Prime Minister has confirmed that Methodist church leaders in police custody will appear in court this afternoon.

This follows ongoing tussles over the past few months between the interim government and the church as to whether its annual conference can go ahead.

Two days ago the country's most senior female High Chief, Rewa Province's Ro Teimumu Kepa was also taken into custody, allegedly for a letter outlining her intention to allow the church to hold the conference in her province next month.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says both Ro Teimumu and the church leaders breached the conditions of the permit given to them when the standing committee met seven days ago.

He has told Auckland's Radio Tarana it is pointless for the church to try and go ahead with its conference.

"If you look at everyone that's making the decision in the Methodist Church, they are all politicians. They are backed by chiefs who have been ousted who are in the SDL Party, they are backed by a thinktank, a group of people who have been ousted by the government. It's a political move and we are not going to tolerate this."

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Fiji's interim Prime Minister.