Friday, June 24, 2011

Tonga says Laws Don't Permit Roko Ului Mara's Extradition

TVNZ News - 24 June 2011

A diplomatic note sent yesterday to Fiji from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tonga states that due to Tongan laws, the Government is unable to extradite Colonel Ratu Mara. 

Mara fled to Tonga last month after being charged with sedition in Fiji, and has made a series of anti-regime statements on the internet. He visited New Zealand earlier this month. The decision by Tonga to give refuge to the fleeing dissenter has increased tensions between the two countries, both of which have declared ownership of Minerva Reefs, a picturesque pair of circular atolls more than 500 kilometres to their south. 

The note sent to Fiji acknowledged the receipt of the extradition request from the Fiji Government dated 19 May 2011, along with supporting documents. Addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation in Suva, it stated: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Tonga regrets that the Laws of the Kingdom of Tonga do not permit His Majesty's Government to comply with the aforementioned Extradition Request." 

The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveyed the "assurances of its highest consideration" to the Government of Fiji. 

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