21 Jun 2011

NZ government seeks legal advice on Fiji's Mara extradition request

3:13 pm on 21 June 2011

The New Zealand government is seeking legal advice on Fiji's request for the extradition of former Fiji military officer Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

Colonel Mara is now in Australia after fleeing from Fiji where he is accused of sedition and he is also planning a New Zealand trip.

The Manager of the International Criminal Law team at New Zealand's Ministry of Justice, Bill Peoples, has confirmed the Ministry's received the extradition request.

He says it's now checking with government lawyers on whether there is enough evidence in the request and whether it complies with legal process.

New Zealand does not have an extradition treaty with Fiji, but a spokesman for the Ministry says the lack of a treaty is not necessarily an obstacle.

Under New Zealand law extradition can only be considered if a person is committed an offence punishable by 12 months or more in prison but a range of other considerations must also be met.