4 Feb 2011

Former Fiji Prime Minister calls for repeal of emergency regulations

7:48 am on 4 February 2011

The former Fiji Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has described his arrest and detention under the public emergency regulations as an abuse of power, and is calling for them to be repealed.

Yesterday charges laid against the Fiji Labour Party leader and National Farmers Union general secretary last October were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Chaudhry had been accused of breaching unlawful assembly regulations, but says he was just doing his job when he met with sugar cane farmers to discuss a drought.

He says the Labour Party has written to the Prime Minister and President in the last few months about his concerns about the regulations.

"I have called on the interim government here to repeal or revoke the public emergency regulations under which the military and the police have arbitrary powers of arrest and detention and this was one case where those powers were abused. We were held in detention for three days and in the end the charges have been withdrawn."

Mahendra Chaudhry says he hears of cases of people being detained under the emergency regulations now and then, but they go unreported because of media restrictions.