FIJI COPS BLOCK MEDIA FROM SENILOLI HEARING

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 2) – Fiji police reportedly yesterday barred news reporters from covering a hearing in jailed Vice President Ratu Jope Seniloli’s appeal of his conviction in connection with the 2000 coup.

Officials say there were no instructions to do so by judicial authorities.

The Fiji Times reports that police outside the court told journalists that only relatives of Seniloli, Deputy Speaker Vakalalabure and three others would be allowed inside.

The chief registrar of the court, Musuka Tabete, is quoted as saying police do not run the courts and approval to enter is given by the presiding judge.

Senior Superintendent Jahir Khan says when the appeal case resumes today police will try to provide space for the media inside the courtroom.

The appeal is being heard by the president of the Appeal court, Justice Gordon Ward, and two senior overseas judges, Justice James Wood and Justice Peter George Penlington.

Seniloli’s lawyers are alleging legal errors, bias and irregularities in the original conviction.

November 3, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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