13 Jan 2010

Australian consultant links deportation by Fiji to her husband's plight

2:10 pm on 13 January 2010

A Suva-based Australian consultant deported by Fiji's interim government this week says she believes she's been targeted because her husband has been critical of the regime.

Fiji-born Dr Padma Lal was deported to Sydney shortly after she arrived in Nadi.

Ms Lal is the wife of Australia National University academic, Dr Brij Lal, who last November was forced to leave Fiji.

She says the immigration officer gave her no reason for the move, but told her she is a prohibited immigrant and on a watchlist.

She adds she has never publicly criticised the regime.

"The only thing I can put it down to would be the position that my husband has taken regarding the events in Fiji. But I didn't think that they would be taking actions against me because I had also left the country last year after the event with my husband."

Padma Lal says she was questioned for about an hour and had to spend the night in a hotel with no access to a phone or computer, which were confiscated.