while the chiefs enjoyed their scrumptious meal

Military seizes Fiji journalists

By MICHAEL FIELD –

Two Suva journalists have spent their second night in police cells after they reported on how the Fiji military dictatorship had freed soldiers jailed for killing civilians.

Media sources in Suva, who cannot be named due to fears for their safety, hold concerns for Dionisia Turagabeci and Shelvin Chand, of the website Fijilive. The website is not reporting on the fate of its own journalists.

Dictator Voreqe Bainimarama imposed martial law on Fiji last month and has extended it another month, imposing censorship on all media.

Earlier this year a soldier was convicted of murdering a civilian. In a separate case nine soldiers and three policemen were convicted of the manslaughter of a civilian.

They were sent to jail for terms ranging from eight years to life, but last week all were released on parole.

Fijilive reported this on Friday and on Saturday Turagabeci and Chand were picked up and taken to Suva Central Police Station.

They have been held in separate cells since and have not been allowed to see friends or lawyers.

Although the military have purported to abrogate the constitution and there is no superior court system, it is likely the two journalists will be taken before the Magistrates Court and charged with breaking the emergency regulations.

Last week military spokesman Neumi Leweni hailed the effect of martial law censorship.

“The people of Fiji are now experiencing a remarkable change from what used to be highly negative and sensationalised news to a more positive, balanced and responsible reporting by the media,” Leweni said.

The nine soldiers and three policemen freed had been convicted of manslaughter after graphic evidence of how they tortured 19-year-old Sakiusa Rabaka to death a month after the 2006 coup.

His mother, Alanieta Rabaka, mounted an emotional and drawn out regional media campaign to get justice.

Helen Clark and John Howard, prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia at the time, took up the case.

18 Responses to “while the chiefs enjoyed their scrumptious meal”

  1. Keep The Faith Says:

    They’ve been released

    http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=46475

  2. Willy Says:

    Fiji could exploit a niche market for journalist training. Offer some courses under Leweni’s guidence to all these negativists working for BBC, CNN, SMH, Australian etc etc. They should come to Fiji and learn about balanced and positive media reporting so that we can all have the pleasant news experience, residents of Fiji are priviledged to these days. All we poor sods hear is about corrupt politicans, incompetent governments, military killing civilians and human rights abuses. It would be so much nicer to switch on BBC and hear ‘Mum cares for her son’ and other positive observations.

  3. Corruption Fighter Says:

    I want to say how much I appreciate Budhau’s contributions. As we all know he’s a wholly owned subsidiary of MPC Enterprises. So it’s helpful while MPC is refusing to show his hand, to have Budhau intervening, going back and forth on any number of subjects, trying to hold all doors open for his
    master.

    Budhau does a job which is nothing short of magnificent. But I’m afraid his boss doesn’t seem to understand that he’s out of the regime permanently. The Military Council won’t have him back. End of story.

    If MPC had ever developed any understanding Fijian culture, he’d realise what’s happened. He’s no doubt making overtures to regime via the Mara clan but he needs to understand that they will never tell him straight that there’s no way back for him. All the Fijian dialects have one word for “YES” but each one has its own word for ‘NO’. Fijians hate to say NO. But that, unfortunately, is the Military Council’s answer to the return of MPC – SEGA!, WARAI!, HUKAI! MINO! MAQA! NO WAY! SA TERI!

    MPC’s only way back into any influence in Fiji is to join the opposition to the Dictatorship. He needs to understand that from now on the Dictatorship is going to be putting all its efforts into winning over the Provincial Councils. That’s all that interests the small minds of the Military Council. It’s the army that keeps the dictatorship in power.

    At some stage the truth will dawn on MPC but it may be too late for the sugar industry who simply don’t figure in the small minds of the dictatorship.

  4. Corruption Fighter Says:

    Sorry to be off topic but here’s a challenge for Budhau. It’s a posting from RFN that explains why Budhau’s good mate and benefactor MPC has all the moral rectitude of a real low life, someone like, well, Mahendra Pal Chaudhry. I bet even Budhau, who makes a living out of defending the indefensible, will pass on debating this one.

    May 10, 2009

    By fijidemocracynow2009

    The dishonorable Mahendra Pal Chaudhry

    The clear message to emerge from Mahendra Pal Chaudhry’s disgraceful treatment of his younger brother, Ravindra, is that the elder Chaudhry is a truly dishonorable man.

    We’ve long known that Chaudhry is a thief whose Sydney bank accounts are filled with misappropriated funds. Now we know, by word and deed, that he’s also a pathological liar.

    Let’s go back to the time his brother, Ravindra, re-surfaced in Fiji and Chaudhry, then interim Minister for Finance, categorically stated that Ravindra was not related to him in any way.

    He actually alleged that the media had named Ravindra as his brother as part of a smear campaign to damage his public image.

    But after Ravindra suicided family pressure forced Chaudhry to fess up. He even organized for Ravindra’s funeral cortege to travel from his Suva Bay home to the crematorium.

    Of course, Chaudhry was again thinking about his public image. Well, it’s too late for that. It’s now carved in stone that Chaudhry is a thief and a liar who dishonored his own flesh and blood.

    Even in a Fiji coming to grips with the awful reality of a military dictatorship, the question of Mahendra Pal Chaudhry having any future role in public life should not be ignored.

    He needs to be told, again and again, until he understands:
    dishonorable people like him and Frank’s company are a curse to Fiji.

    Posted by rawfijinews

  5. archiebald newton Says:

    Leweni has done well for himself.From a Sergeant Major only 3 years ago earning $35k he now earns a little over $120k as a Permanent Secretary with a free car,telephone,electricity,water,house etc.
    Like his other fellow Army officers now in high civil service positions and members of the so called Military Council all they need to do is sit back and relax for the next 5 years and let taxpayer’s funds flow into their bank accounts since there is no more scrutiny or accountability.

    The real objective of the 2006 Coup now becomes very clear.

  6. Tuma Says:

    lolz…….@solivakasama

  7. Budhau Says:

    CF, I don’t know why you brought up these issues in this thread – and what I write is not about defending Chaudary – it has more to do with the silly ass arguments that I see in these blogs.
    Anyway, you don’t have to be a Chaudary fan to see that the family squabble is a non-issue – and those idiots on various blogsites have made this is some “crime against humanity.” The guy was homeless, had been charged with causing grievous bodily harm, and ended up committing suicide – without knowing any other details, this looks like a metal illness related issue. Some times in situations like this, there is only so much family can do – go read about the homeless population in any major city and you will see the same problems.
    These family related issues have very little to do with “da man” as a political figure and FLP leader.

    I just don’t understand what this crap about “crime against humanity” and all that is.
    As for brothers not getting along – you may want to go read some Fijian history.
    Some of you guys have tendency to come up with this crap – just like the tea lady “incident”.

    Regarding your second issue, what makes you think that Chaudary wants to get back in with the regime. The arms length relationship is supposed to be just that – it makes political sense. Your silly ass argument – that Chaudary does not understand Fijian culture – thus he does not understand the “no” from the military council. Chaudary understands “no” alright – it is just that sometimes the man just refuses to take no for an answer.

    Whether you like the guy or not – one thing you have to give him credit for – that he is no dumbass. He knows where he stands with the FB and the military council.
    Distancing himself from the regime is political strategy.

  8. senijiale Says:

    Bud – m not that keen to know wot might hve gone down btwn the 2 siblings since we all know how downright complicated family relationships can be – statistics speak for themselves if you know wot i mean… the complexities of human nature? Still, u must admit that MPC, having a high public profile as he did, handled this one quite terribly didn’t he? I thought yr man profoundly misjudged the situation frm the start and it came back to bite him in the ass. Tsk…tsk… Bud, methinks u’re spending far too much time in here instead of handing MPC good sound advice!

  9. Budhau Says:

    I still don’t understand why the falling apart between two siblings is relevant. Besides, these kinds of family situations usually develop when there is mental illness, drugs etc was involved.
    So Chaudary had nothing to do with a brother, who ended up committing suicide – and once he was dead, and he had no one else living in Fiji – funeral arrangements were made by the Chaudary family.

    Why are we even talking about this – Chaudary’s “crime against humanity” – that is what many of the idiots at the various blogs were saying.

    Maybe after we are done with this – we can discuss the tea lady, and then may the bure in Sorokoba.

    CF – next time try and bring up things that are relevant – relevant to coup, democracy etc.

  10. senijiale Says:

    Well the way I see it – when you’re at the helm of leadership or vying to get back in there, your life no longer belongs just to you and yours. Yes, people will decide upon what’s relevant and what’s not and even the ‘minutiae’ to u Bud (tea lady saga, sorokoba house etc) will come under their scrutiny. I think people do understand that there is a correlation between the way you handle your personal affairs and that of the public’s
    – the latter of course, is what they’re really concerned about since it
    directly affects their ordinary lives. Hence, they will not look too kindly upon someone in a leadership postion who displays bad judgment when it
    comes to his family affairs… as you can well expect him to play it as fast
    and loose when it comes to public affairs, and btw MPC isn’t the only
    one…

    So… whatever his late brother was, don’t matter to me. It was how MPC handled the situation when his brother first stepped into the public arena, that I thought was a real no brainer. As Asgrocky likes to say – is he slow?

    Good morning.

  11. Ratu Sai Says:

    It comes back to that old adage where you can remove the boy from the jungle but it is nigh on impossible to remove the jungle from the boy for the jungle mentality is well and truly alive.

    It fascinates me to observe how people that are supposedly educated revert back to their cannibalistic mentality there are times when certain issues that are of sensitive nature ought not to be discussed yet people will raise their heads above the nations cesspit to spew venom albeit momentarily.

    If they are so concerned about this Mahen fellow and his alleged malfeasance than by all means seek retribution through the courts not in an open forum where you guys allow your jungle mentality to castigate and besmirch not him but his deceased brother.

    What have these mongrels resorted too, it is a disgrace to drag into this forum dirty linen you all need to take a good look into your backyard.

  12. senijiale Says:

    Oh dear. Speaking of jungalees caught in a time-warp : Tarzen’s piss is still waaayyy off the mark! Man, aren’t we slow this morning or wot…. okay kofina break eniwan…?

  13. Asgrocky Says:

    Time for a laugh, break the tension

    SNAKE TOILET BITE
    A Taiwanese man became a sitting target for a snake, which bit his penis as he sat on the toilet at his rural home, local media reported.

    “As soon as he sat down, he suddenly felt a knife-like pain and reacted instinctively by standing up,” the China Times said. “When he looked down, he saw the big snake.”

    The 51-year-old man, from Nantou County, was under medical care with minor injuries, a director at Puli Christian Hospital said.

    “As soon as he has passed the risk of infection, he can go,” the director, who declined to be named, said. “A snake’s mouth isn’t always clean.”

    Local television images showed the black and yellow reptile, reportedly a species of rat snake, being uncoiled and plucked slowly from the toilet bowl.

    Snakes regularly enter rural homes in Taiwan and other sub-tropical regions of Asia.

  14. Corruption Fighter Says:

    @Budhau
    You ask why I think Chaudhry wants to return to the fold of the dictatorship? Isn’t it obvious? He has said nothing about the loss of the EU money needed to restructure the sugar industry.

    The EU did not promise this money to Fiji because they’re wonderful generous people. They did it because they know it’s needed to restructure the industry to cope with the lower prices they’ll be paying for our sugar and they don’t want to be blamed if our sugar industry collapses.

    Now that the constitution has been abrogated, the EU can blame Bainimarama for the collapse of our sugar industry. All of the other Cotonou Agreement partners will say nothing because our aid money will be reallocated to them. It won’t be returned to the EU and it won’t be carried over waiting
    for Bainimarama to make another false promise.

    When farmers are forced out of the industry, it will dawn on them that their great champion of many years sat on the sidelines. You may not be ready to believe that he did this because he was waiting to be recalled to the dictatorship, but the farmers will believe it.

    Budhau you talk about MPC “distancing” himself from the regime. You couldn’t put a cigarette paper between him and Frank at the moment. He’s not fighting for his farmers interests with vigour and fire of old.

    The one thing you and I agree on is that MPC is no coward. So why is he not fighting in the way we know of old for his constituency? You’re smart enough to work that out.

  15. Budhau Says:

    CF, your wrote:
    “You ask why I think Chaudhry wants to return to the fold of the dictatorship? Isn’t it obvious? He has said nothing about the loss of the EU money needed to restructure the sugar industry.”

    Couple of things CF, Chaudary’s position has been very clear on this – that he would like to see an early election, but only after the proposed changes are made to electoral system.

    If that means the EU withholding those funds – that is EU’s prerogative. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT HIM TO SAY?

    EU subsidy is spread out over time – about $50 million annually, we missed the 2008 subsidy and most likely, we will miss the 2009.

    What exactly do you want Chaudary to do – join Qarase and try to bring down the military regime – that does not guarantee the subsidy until the regime falls. Do you want to Chaudary to openly become anti-regime – somehow that would convince the EU that just because Chaudary is calling for elections asap, that they should write that 50 million cheque.

    You wrote, “Now that the constitution has been abrogated, the EU can blame Bainimarama for the collapse of our sugar industry. All of the other Cotonou Agreement partners will say nothing because our aid money will be reallocated to them. It won’t be returned to the EU and it won’t be carried over waiting for Bainimarama to make another false promise.”

    I don’t think the EU is in the blame game – so now they can blame Bainimarama for the collapse of the sugar industry and they could just move on. They honestly believe that they have an obligation to Fiji – and I think they just need a reason to justify getting that subsidy back on – and a change in election date from 2014 to something earlier would just do it.

    You wrote, “When farmers are forced out of the industry, it will dawn on them that their great champion of many years sat on the sidelines. You may not be ready to believe that he did this because he was waiting to be recalled to the dictatorship, but the farmers will believe it.”

    Wrong assumption – Chaudary is not sitting on the sideline – he never did. He has probably figured out that he could do more for his constituents from where is right now – that arms length relationship with the regime.

    CF – you seem to contradict yourself, you wrote, “Budhau you talk about MPC “distancing” himself from the regime. You couldn’t put a cigarette paper between him and Frank at the moment. He’s not fighting for his farmers interests with vigour and fire of old.”

    If Chaudary is so buddy buddy with Frank – then there is no need for him to be in the regime to get the regime to do what he wants – right?

    The problem here is that the EU won’t give in unless a date is given for the election – the 2014 is still not acceptable. Chaudary has already said that a 2012 time line is reasonable – Now you wait and see how this is negotiated agreement to 2012 plays out – where it would look like Frank is giving in and EU would come in with the 50 million next year.

    Chaudary knows that thumping his fist on the table ain’t going to work – like you guys always thought of him – that arrogant, union guy that knew no better. The man probably knows what he is doing – you look at the surrounding circumstances – the coup, the sanctions, the floods and global downturn in the economy – everything had piled on and those farmers know that things are going to be bad – and without Chaudary, things would have been much worse.

    Chaudary did not give in when they broke his ribs, had him on his knees with a gun to his head – I don’t think the man is a quitter.

  16. Corruption Fighter Says:

    @Budhau

    You wrote: “Chaudary knows that thumping his fist on the table ain’t going to work.”

    Really? When did Chaudhry learn this lesson. That’s the only style he used when there was a democracy.

    It was his love of thumping the table that meant he couldn’t join a democratic, genuine multi-party government.

    Why don’t you admit it? He wants to be part of the dictatorship. It’s his style of government.

    His problem is he doesn’t understand that they don’t want him. And that’s because the Military Council, the top body in this 99 plus percent indigenous institution don’t want him.

  17. Budhau Says:

    CF – Chaudary always knew what works when – it is folks like you who have kept this myth alive that Chaudary is no more than an arrogant, trade unionist who does not know any better.

    They guy was part of two election victories and two other elections that were stolen – that is twenty years – a lifetime in most people’s political career – maybe that taught him that we don’t have democracy in Fiji.

    He came in help, after the fact, when he saw an opportunity to help and at the same time make the necessary changes so that we can have true democracy – I think he did a good job under the circumstances, and now he probably feels that what is best for him and his constituents is to keep a arms length relationship with the regime.

    The question is not whether the military council WANTS Chaudary – the important thing is that and sooner or later there will be an election and in that election, all those Fijian politicians who are aligned with the regime, they will NEED Chaudary’s support, for them to have a shot at the PM’s post.

    So you see, Chaudary may not be the King, but he sure is the King maker – remember how he made Rabuka the PM, and than brought him down when Rabuka reneged on his promise.

    So why don’t you get it – whether you like Chaudary or not, you still gotta deal with him – until HE decides to give it up and retire.

    BTW – the common theme in here after the coup was that it was Chaudary – that he was behind the coup, he controlled Frank, Nailatikau, Ganilau and the rest, now at least, you seem to be agreeing that Chaudary was no the power behind the coup.

    BTW – the military council, if we accept your argument, that they dislike Chaudary – what has the military being a indigenous institution gotta dow with anything – if they have a intense dislike for Chaudary – it is not because Chaudary is an Indian and they, Fijian – could it be that there are political differences also.
    It is folks like you who always bring up this racist agenda – you know why? because racism works for you – bring up the Indian bogey man – and the Fijians will fall in line behind the Ratus and the elite.
    What happened now – how come the grassroot Fijians have not stood up for Qarase – because whether it was Qarase or Frank – for the common man, it is the same old, same old.

  18. Jone Biutiviti Says:

    Interesting reading Bhudhaus’ contribution on Chaudary, one would be forgiven to suspect that it is Chaudary himself who is blogging under the pseudonym Bhudhau. He seems to know too well exactly where MPC is,what MPC wants and where MPC wants to go. It is either MPC himself, someone very close to MPC or someone who considers MPC a GOD. Well, I for one finds his comments very enlightening and humourous at times and had taught me a big lesson. That I should never masi polo, tabetabe or kiss kiss up to anybody. It would really make me sound so stupid in trying to speak on his behalf. In the process, you are more trying to justify yourself instead of the person you worship. And the more you try to justify yourself, the more you become unjustifed. Interesting eh!!!!

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