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The president of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, was yesterday released from detention after being held there for 24 hours on sedition charges.
Naidu was arrested in Lautoka after police questioning over a statement he sent to all Fiji judges on the weekend asking them to urge the country's judges to reject commissions from Commodore Frank Bainimarama's Government.
Naidu appeared on ABC radio before his arrest criticising Bainimarama’s decision last week to sack the country's judges and censor local journalists.
Bainimarama publicly denied anyone had been detained, but Naidu told ABC radio yesterday the statement is not consistent with what he experienced.
“I was definitely detained. I mean I couldn't stay at my home, I wasn't allowed to leave the police station and I am also told that the TV reporter Edwin Nand was released today but he had been in police custody for the last three days, so you know this question of not being in detention... I mean, the facts on the ground don't really give light to that,” he said.
Hitting back at criticism over the sacking of Fiji’s judges, Fiji's Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said in The Australian: "The new judges will be just as independent as the old judges.”
Justice Ian Lloyd, one of three judges who labelled Bainimarama's 2006 coup illegal, saying the crisis had put the legal profession in a sensitive situation, The New Zealand Herald reports.
"This idiot Bainimarama is asking [judges] to sign up again and swear allegiance to an illegal regime. By law that is a treasonous act," he said.
"You can only judge with the law behind you. You can't judge for an illegal regime without compromising your own integrity."