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Fiji police target Opposition leaders who attended Constitution forum

September 11, 2016

Two in custody – two more being targeted

Fiji police have swooped on political party leaders who

Attar Singh: Former FICTU leader arrested

attended a debate on the Constitution earlier this week.

The public forum was about the controversial 2013 Constitution, which many continue to criticise as being a regime exercise.

Two leaders have been taken in for questioning already this morning –
NFP’s Biman Prasad, and former trade unionist, Attar Singh,

Arrested: NFP leader Biman Prasad

who was escorted from his Samubula home in Suva by CID officers about an hour ago.

Police picked up NFP leader, Biman Prasad, soon after.
Two other leaders are being sought – incoming SODELPA Party leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, and Labour Party Mahendra Chaudhry.
The Pacific Dialogue’s Forum on the Constitution was apparently held without a permit.
The forum was held on Fiji’s Constitution Day, a public

Rabuka: panellist at forum


Chaudhry: panellist at forum

Just ten people are believed to have been at the forum.

Lawyers are on hand to assist Singh and Prasad but they could be in custody until Monday.
Details are still emerging but the leaders being targeted by police today were all panellists at the forum except for who Singh was just in the audience.

The family of those arrested are keeping calm but obviously concerned about the safety of those who’ve been taken in.

The 2013 Constitution was two years in the making and was signed into law in September that year with the so-called ‘free elections’ following in October 2014.

There was wide criticism at the time of the Constitution being drafted and parts of it continue to be challenged, namely the provisions that allow coup perpetrators who are in government today absolute and unconditional immunity from the 2006 coup and the abrogation of the Constitution in 2009.

The regime Constitution cemented the illegal decrees it manufactured in 2009 and 2010 to allow Frank Bainimarama and other coup perpetrators and supporters to stay in power.

The 2013 Constitution further protects the regime masters by stating that their immunity or the decrees cannot be reviewed, amended, altered or appealed or revoked.

Etched in many minds are the pictures of a tearful Dr Yash Ghai, the international Constitution law expert who’d brought in to run the consultations after police confiscated his drafts and burnt the printer’s proofs in front of him.

Bainimarama threw out Ghai’s draft saying it harked to the past and brought in his own version.

Police burn printer’s proofs of Yash Ghai Constitution draft

source – C4.5; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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