Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NZ Labour leader Phil Goff says Mara wouldn’t get a fair hearing in Fiji

Posted by Raw Fiji News - 21 June 2011

Blogger Sikeli says : “HERE’S YOUR ANSWER AIYAZ AND BAINIMARAMA ‘Tevita Mara is unlikely to be extradited from New Zealand because he could not be guaranteed a fair hearing in Fiji..-Goff’. WE HOPE YOU 2 CAN HAVE SAFE JOURNEY BEFORE YOUR FINAL DESTINY AS THE WORLD ACKNOWLEDGE YOU 2 AS ARMED, DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL!!!”
Phil Goff
Mara trial wouldn’t be fair – Goff
Former Fijian army chief Tevita Mara is unlikely to be extradited from New Zealand because he could not be guaranteed a fair hearing in Fiji, Labour leader Phil Goff says.
The New Zealand Government was served with papers on Friday after Fiji unsuccessfully tried to get Mara extradited from Australia and Tonga.
The matter has been referred to the Ministry of Justice which Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said was the appropriate course of action.
Goff said the decision must be made by the justice system.
However, he said a condition for extradition was to ensure the person would receive a fair hearing.
“In a country that’s effectively a military dictatorship, how could you be sure of that.”
Mara fled Fiji in May after being charged with plotting to overthrow Fiji’s military government.
He took refuge in Tonga but has recently travelled to Australia to talk to pro-democracy groups and has signalled an intention to visit New Zealand.
He has been granted an exemption to visit for two days.
Mara is on the list of Fijian officials who are banned from visiting here. He was recently removed from Australia’s version of the list.

Former Fiji military officer Mara plans US visit

A former Fiji military officer Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara is planning to take his campaign against the Fiji regime to the United States.
The former regime insider says he’ll travel to the US after visiting New Zealand and Samoa.
Sally Round reports.
“The former high-ranking military chief fled from Fiji last month after being charged with sedition and he’s currently in Australia speaking to groups fighting for a return to democracy in Fiji. Colonel Mara plans to use the open-ended three day visa he’s been granted for New Zealand, next week. He then plans to visit Samoa, whose Prime Minister has congratulated Colonel Mara for admitting his guilt over his involvement in the 2006 military coup. Fiji’s interim Attorney-General has said extradition papers will be filed in every country the colonel visits. New Zealand’s Justice Ministry’s confirmed it’s received an extradition request from Fiji and it’s seeking legal advice. he Ministry says there are a number of steps in the legal process before any extradition request could be met.”
 Radio New Zealand International

Aiyaz Khaiyum’s extradition order for Ului Mara faces legality litmus test
Ului Mara and Suliasi Daunitutu in Canberra

Wellington, June 21 NZPA – A Fijian defector may have come and gone from New Zealand by the time an extradition request against him is considered, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.

Mr McCully confirmed to reporters this morning that Fiji had sought the extradition of Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara when he visited, possibly at the start of next month. “My office received papers on Friday that purport to be extradition papers. We’ve sent them across to the Ministry of Justice, that’s what we would normally do,” Mr McCully said this morning.
Normally such requests would go through consular changes but the despite the different approach the request would be considered in the usual way. “These things normally take some time… I’ve simply handed it on, treated it as a normal request and it’s over to them (officials) to determine whether it’s complicated and takes more time or whether they can turn it around. I am not asking them to speed it up or slow it down.”
Mr McCully said it was possible the request would not be dealt with before Lt Col Mara’s visit was over. “That’s theoretically possible, that’s entirely in the hands of the Justice Ministry officials.”
The ministry would look at a range of issues when they considered the request. “First of all they will look at whether its a valid extradition request that relates to an offence that it extraditable under New Zealand law, then they will look at the merits of this particular case.”
Other factors to be considered would include whether a fair trial would be possible back in Fiji and other human rights issues. “All of those are issues for the Ministry of Justice to look at.”
Mr McCully said he expected the visit at the start of July but that was not set in concrete. “Things have been moving around a bit.”
Lt Col Mara was granted a two-day exemption from the travel ban on members of the Fijian regime to visit New Zealand. He visited Australia recently after fleeing to Tonga at the start of May to avoid a sedition charge brought by Fiji’s military regime.

Vanuatu to review stance on Fiji chairmanship of MSG

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Natapei
Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister says the Melanesian Spearhead Group constitution isn’t clear on whether an unelected government like Fiji’s should hold the group’s chairmanship.
As Foreign Minister before the removal of the Natapei government last December, Joe Natuman had opposed the transferral of the MSG chairmanship to Fiji.
He said that provisions on democracy, rule of law and good governance in the MSG constitution meant Fiji’s unelected government couldn’t take up the role.
But since he has resumed his ministerial role, and after Fiji has assumed the chairmanship following a MSG reconciliation process, Mr Natuman says his government’s stance will be reviewed.
“These are the issues that we might need to look at and maybe then refer to the constitution and maybe, for Fiji purposes, looking at the MSG constitution and making amendments or decisions to avoid any future, you know, things arising whereby we face a similar situation. We should have a clear constitution on this issue and at the moment it’s not.”
Joe Natuman
Radio New Zealand International

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