Former Fiji prime minister arrested

Mahendra Chaudhry detained for holding public meeting in violation of military government's emergency regulations.

    Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 coup, imposing emergency regulations banning public meetings [AFP]

    Fiji's military government has arrested opposition leader and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry for allegedly violating public emergency regulations.

    Chaudhry was taken into custody with five other people on Friday and was expected to face court on Monday, state broadcaster Radio Fiji reported.

    The news website Fijivillage said Chaudhry was detained for allegedly holding public meetings, which have been outlawed.

    The site also said that police had not yet publicly revealed the charges against the Fiji Labour Party leader.

    Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, imposed emergency regulations banning public meetings when he abrogated the constitution in April last year.

    Chaudhry became Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader when elected prime minister in 1999 and was overthrown a year later in a coup led by nationalist George Speight.

    He is one of the main opposition voices in Fiji, where the media are heavily censored and political parties cannot issue statements seen as destabilising Bainimarama's government.

    In July, Chaudhry appeared in court on several charges unrelated to his latest alleged offence, including money laundering and tax evasion.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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