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Fiji's head of state, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has announced he has annulled the country's constitution during a televised address to the people of Fiji. He has also sacked all the country's judges and magistrates, including the three who ruled yesterday that his appointment of Commodore Frank Bainimarama's interim government after the 2006 coup was illegal. He says the sacking of all Fiji's judges will establish a new legal order. "I appoint myself as the head of the state of Fiji under a new legal order," Mr Iloilo said. Mr Iloilo says elections cannot be held until 2014.
FIJI authorities have expelled three foreign journalists and arrested a local reporter in a crackdown on reporting of the nation's political upheaval. ABC correspondent Sean Dorney is expected to arrive in Sydney at 11.40 AEST today after he was deported by government officials unhappy with his coverage of recent political developments in the troubled nation. Dorney spent the night under supervision by immigration officials in Nadi along with New Zealand journalist Sia Aston and cameraman Matt Smith, who are also understood to have been deported. Fijian television reporter Edwin Nand was arrested overnight for giving footage to a New Zealand television network. The media crackdown follows a new power grab by the country's military head, Frank Bainimarama, after a court ruled last Thursday that his regime, in power since a 2006 coup, was illegal under the country's 1997 constitution.
Fiji's military-led government is continuing to punish its critics, with the arrest of the president of Fiji's Law Society the latest upheaval in the country. In recent days Dorsami Naidu has criticised Fiji's interim government for sacking the country's judges, dumping the constitution and censoring local journalists. President Josefa Iloilo scrapped the constitution on Friday to bypass an Appeal Court ruling that Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama had been in power illegally since the 2006 coup. Mr Naidu was arrested by the military this afternoon. He believes he is being punished for speaking to the media.
Originally posted by Chadwickus
reply to post by zazzafrazz
Yeah they've had a few situations over the years now.
I don't know how they handle the constant turmoil.
I guess it shows that no matter who is in power or what they do, the will of the people continues
Bainimarama is one himself. Why so many coups? Fiji has been plagued by coups since 1987, when the military first intervened in the island's political life. Past coups had much to do with the fear among indigenous Fijians of losing political control to Indo-Fijians, who dominate the economy. What is unusual about this current crisis is that the two protagonists are both high-profile indigenous Fijians.
KEVIN Rudd has issued a stern warning to Fiji's determined military leader Frank Bainimarama to do the right thing by his troubled country.
"He knows what he must do,'' Australia's Prime Minister says of Mr Bainimarama, in power since a 2006 coup and refusing to heed regional warnings to return Fiji to democracy.
In an editorial today, Mr Rudd said it was "absurd'' to delay elections by five years, and that Mr Bainimarama had been telling insiders it could take another five more.
"This is the behaviour of a military junta,'' he wrote. Fiji became the first country to be suspended from the regional Pacific Islands Forum this month after repeated failures to go to the polls.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he is concerned about reports from Fiji that eight soldiers and a police officer recently jailed for manslaughter have been released from prison.
The release follows a new Fijian policy that no police or soldiers will be criminally liable for any deaths they cause in the line of duty.
Mr Smith says Australia is concerned about the administration of justice in Fiji.
"I'm not in a position to confirm the details of those reports that I have seen, but we are very generally concerned about the administration of legal institutions and justice in Fiji," he said.
"The starting point of the abrogation of the constitution was Commodore Bainimarama refusing to accept the decision of the appeal court."
Mr Smith has been meeting with his Belgian counterpart, who has confirmed the European Union will continue the suspension of its sugar subsidies to Fiji.
Australia will maintain a hardline stance against the regime of Fiji's self-appointed leader Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
"We're not about to simply allow a coup culture to spread," he told ABC Radio on Wednesday, adding that Australia wanted stability in the South Pacific region.
"That's why we'll maintain a hardline in relation to this regime."
Fiji on Tuesday ordered the top diplomats from Australia and New Zealand out of the country within 24 hours.