FIJI CONSTITUTIONAL GROUP CALLS FOR POLICE PROBE ON "THREAT"

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 1, 2001 - Pasifik Nius)---Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum has called on the police to probe four indigenous political parties, which have issued threats if the Court of Appeal upholds a controversial judgment ruling that the 1997 multiracial constitution was still supreme law.

The forum made the call yesterday in response to a statement by nationalist Ratu Esira Rabuno in a television current affairs program.

Rabuno was a signatory to the January 19 "joint statement" of the parties.

In the Close-Up program on Fiji Television last Sunday, he said he could not guarantee that there would be no violent civil disobedience by the parties which have declared they would not respect any appeal judgment upholding Justice Anthony Gates' ruling in favor of the 1997 constitution.

He said they would "make that decision when it comes to that point," the forum stated in a letter to Police Commissioner Isikia Savua.

In the letter, forum executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki said: "This is clear evidence of an intention to disobey the court and to break the laws still there.

"Ratu Esira has still not said anything to the contrary, that his people should respect the court decision."

Rev. Yabaki said that in the Close-Up panel interview, Rabuno had also drawn a parallel with South Africa where "indigenous people resorted to violence to oppose their cause against unjust laws."

Rev. Yabaki urged the police to investigate the signatories to the joint statement of the parties.

* See Pasifik Nius item 3179

Title -- 3183 HUMAN RIGHTS: Constitutional group calls for police probe on 'threat' Date -- 1 February 2001 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- PN, 1/2/1 Copyright – PN Status – Unabridged

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