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July 25, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Alleged Torturer Tortures Students With Talk-ture

Victoria University’s Law Faculty was host to one of New Zealand’s banned persons, Third Fiji Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara, who held two meetings there last Thursday during his short trip to the country.

Mara, who is banned from entering New Zealand for his involvement in Fiji’s 2000 and 2006 coups, including alleged torture, was allowed into the country for five days last week to meet with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials, New Zealand’s Democracy in Fiji group, local Fijians and the Maori Party.
During his meetings at Victoria, Mara explained why he had left Commodore Bainimarama’s regime, which subsequently led to his arrest and escape from the country in May this year.

“In early 2007 we began to see… that the journey that was put together… was not on the agenda. We were taking a totally different route.”
Mara said his discussions with MFAT on Thursday had covered the reality of the situation in Fiji; the prospect of holding democratic elections there, and “other things”. He was reluctant to go into details about possible new sanction measures to be undertaken by New Zealand. But said he would like the government to take a stronger stance, if doing so meant that Fiji would be returned more quickly to to its former democracy.

At the end of the meeting Mara’s minder made an appeal to the “budding lawyers” of New Zealand to look into the possibility of creating laws that could apply to New Zealand citizens who are involved in the current military regime.

The meetings were also held to highlight the important role of the press in a democracy and to enable Mara to get his message across, as he said this was impossible through Fiji’s heavily-censored press.

Mara will next head to Tonga and then Samoa, as he makes his way through member-states of the Pacific Islands Forum.

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  1. Clement McBigglewaddle says:

    Best headline ever.

  2. Kerriann says:

    Great atrlice but it didn’t have everything-I didn’t find the kitchen sink!

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