26 Aug 2011

Fiji regime declares travel ban for Methodist leaders

10:58 am on 26 August 2011

The Fiji interim government has banned Methodist Church ministers from travelling abroad to attend church meetings or conferences.

The directive is the latest step in this week's clampdown in response to the church leadership refusing regime instructions to stand aside.

The Fiji Sun says the travel ban has stopped the church's general secretary, the Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, from attending a conference in Samoa.

The church is also banned from holding any more meetings.

This follows a regime decision earlier this week to cancel the Methodists' annual conference for the third year running.

Delegates who travelled to Suva for the occasion have been sent home.

The interim regime had accused the church's two top leaders of breaching emergency regulations two years ago and expected that they would resign as a result.

The military says the church leaders refused to bow and maintained that a person is innocent until proven guilty.