Sunday, May 22, 2011

Estonian fisherman held by Fiji police over Mara's fishing escapade

Posted on Coup Four Point Five - 22 May 2011

The family and friends of an Estonian man being held in custody by Fiji police investigating Roko Ului Mara's 'rescue' are worried about him.

Risto (pictured left) is believed to be the 'kaivalagi' witnesses have said was seen on the water with Roko Ului the day he was picked up by a Tongan Navy vessel.

Sources say Risto lives at Pacific Harbour and fishes at Kadavu regularly. It's believed he skippered the boat that took Mara out from the island last week.

Family and friends say they believe Risto's intentions would've been innocent and that he's just a keen fisherman.

Risto is believed to have been in police custody now for several days and family have been desperately seeking information about his welfare.

It's believed he hasn't been allowed to contact a lawyer.

Fiji police say they're convinced Mara, who remains in Tonga, planned his escape last week and was helped by a number of people. 

Several of his family, including his wife, Dolores, have been questioned a number of times in the past week.

Another European man has been quoted by witnesses and reports as having helped Mara that day. He is believed to be Tim McBride, the husband of Aidi Koila Ganilau, Mara's niece.

It's not known if McBride, who is a surfing instructor, has been questioned or taken into custody by police. But sources say he was seen out last night.

Fiji Police to establish who planned Mara’s escape

FBC News - 22 May 2011

The Fiji Police Force is trying to ascertain who was behind Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara’s escape to Tonga.

Police spokesperson Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri says they have established that Mara had a few associates who helped him flee the country. 

Sokomuri says most of these individuals are now being investigated by police. 

He has also confirmed reports – the Tongan Defence vessel PO Savea picked Mara up from within Fiji’s territorial waters. 

“It was not a sea rescue as circulated by many press and media organisations. It was a planned and deliberate operation. The big question now is who organised the trip to Tonga and that is where our investigation is concentrating.” 

Mara is currently living in the Tongan King’s villa in Nuku’alofa under heavy military guard.

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