15 Oct 2011

NZ man detained in Fiji charged with seditious graffiti

9:09 am on 15 October 2011

A New Zealand man being held in police custody has been formally charged with writing seditious comments in public places earlier this year.

Jagath Karunaratne has been detained for questioning for seven days and family members are urging the New Zealand Government to put pressure on the Fiji interim regime to release him.

Mr Karunaratne appeared in court late yesterday, along with four other men.

Fiji Village reports it is alleged the men conspired write seditious words in public places and billboards along the Nausori and Suva roads.

The five have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bail was refused and they have been remanded in custody, to reappear in court on the 21st of this month.

The New Zealand High Commission in Fiji says it is providing Mr Karunaratne with consular assistance but can not comment any further.