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Driti jailing a backward step for Fiji, says Mara

December 19, 2013

Ratu Tevita Mara reiterated that a High Court decision in 2009 had announced that Commodore Bainimarama’s government was an “illegal regime”.

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Monday, December 16, 2013 – 09:06

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Monday, December 16, 2013 – 22:06
Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Pita Driti leaves the Fiji High Court. Photo courtesy the Fiji Times.

A five years jail sentence given to Pita Driti, a former Brigadier-General of the Royal Fijian Military Force, by the Fiji High Court’s Mr Justice Madigan on Wednesday December 11 contradicts an earlier jury decision, says Ratu Tevita Mara.

“It is a reminder that Fiji is back under the law of the jungle,” Mara said in Tonga on Friday.

Mara a former Liuetenant Colonel of the RFMF, who has been self-exiled in Tonga since 2011, told Matangi Tonga Online on December 13 that Justice Madigan’s decision crushed an earlier decision by a jury who found that Pita Driti was “not guilty” of seditious charges brought by the regime of Commodore Bainimarama.

“But I would rather leave it at that,” said Ratu Tevita Mara, who did not want to elaborate but was clearly unhappy with Justice Madigan’s decision to jail Driti.

Frustration

According to a Fiji Times report on the sedition case, it was alleged that during August and October 2011, Pita Driti the Brigadier-General of the RFMF had seduced Manasa Ralawa Tagicakibau by expressing his dislike and frustration over the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s alleged control over decisions made by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Lt. Col. Tevita Mara was one of the four Fijian senior military officers who with Commodore Bainimarama overthrew the democratically elected government of Fiji on 5 December 2006. But Tevita has since confessed that what they did was in his opinion illegal, and that he wanted a democratic government back in Fiji.

Ratu Tevita Mara reiterated that a High Court decision in 2009 had announced that  Commodore Bainimarama’s government was an “illegal regime”.

In 2011 Ratu Tevita Mara was charged with inciting sedition, but while on bail he fled aboard a Tongan navy patrol boat to take refuge in Tonga in May 2011.

Commodore Bainimarama has declared Ratu Tevita Mara to be a fugitive, and wants him extradited back to Fiji to stand trial for sedition, and for jumping bail.

Ratu Tevita Mara taking refuge in Tonga.

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