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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Feb. 19) - An Auckland mechanic is to appear in a Tonga court next week, charged with distributing a newspaper without a license.

The deputy commander of police in Nuku’alofa, Taniela Faletau, says Alani Taione appeared in the Magistrates Court yesterday for a bail hearing and was released on bail without plea.

Mr Faletau declined to elaborate any further on the case while it is before the court.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Taione was arrested at the airport in Tonga for distributing copies of the New Zealand-based Taimi O Tonga newspaper.

The Herald reported that Taione, a pro-democracy activist, was in Tonga for his father’s funeral and was later arrested at the airport for handing out copies of the paper.

The paper is no longer available in the country following the passing of tough media restrictions late last year.

An offshoot of the Taimi was turned down for a licence earlier this month.

February 20, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:


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