Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Illegal Fiji Regime Files for Mara’s Extradition from Australia

Pacific Scoop News - 14 June 2011

Ratu Mara meeting
Fiji expatriates in Australia listen to fugitive colonel Ratu Tevita Mara condemn the regime at the weekend. Photo: Drum Pasifika
The Fiji Attorney-General's Office has confirmed it has sent extradition papers to Australia to extradite Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara who has been declared a fugitive, reports national radio.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told FBC News today the documents were delivered to and signed for at the Australian Attorney-General's Office at 8am.
He added the ball was "now in Australia's court" to follow due legal process in having Ratu Mara brought back to Fiji, FBC reported.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the government planned to file for Mara's extradition in every country he visits.
Extradition papers were sent to Australia last Friday – the day before he spoke at a gathering of anti-regime groups including activists, academics and Fiji expatriates.
Ratu Mara has also been granted a two-day exemption from the "smart sanctions" ban on military regime personnel by the New Zealand government and is expected in the country next week.
Fiji may file extradition papers in New Zealand.
Pacific tensions
In a weekend Television New Zealand programme, Q & A, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the government would allow Mara into NZ in a bid to "de-escalate" Pacific tensions.
Political editor GUYON ESPINER: "I'm sure you followed the processes, but it's more than just a process and a bureaucratic issue. I assume that there's some strategy behind this, and I presume that the strategy is that you want to give comfort to the people who are willing to defect and willing to challenge the  regime. I presume that we are trying to stoke change in Fiji by allowing him here."
McCULLY: "Well, we're trying to do two things that are potentially in conflict. Yes, we are trying to encourage people to part company with the regime and to part company with the military and reward them when they do that, but we're also trying to de-escalate tensions in the region at the moment, and your programme's already indicated, there are tensions there internally in Fiji, there are tensions between Fiji and Tonga.

"We actually need to play a careful hand here so that we don't stoke fires that could potentially bring the region into conflict."


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