SOLOMONS COURT RELEASES ELUSIVE MOTI ON BAIL

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Oct. 20) – The suspended Solomon Islands attorney general, Julian Moti, has been released on bail in Honiara on illegal entry charges.

The Solomons' High Court ruled Mr Moti could be released on a surety of around US$700.

The money is believed to have been put up by a prominent local businessman.

Mr Moti must report to police weekly until his next court appearance in 14 days and is not allowed to apply for a passport.

He is at the centre of a diplomatic row between Australia and Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who refuses to hand him over to Australian authorities to face child sex charges.

Mr Moti, an Australian, arrived in the Solomons last week on a military flight from Papua New Guinea, and was charged with entering Solomon Islands without a passport and without an exemption to enter without a permit.

[PIR editor’s note: Moti, who earlier this month escaped from authorities in Papua New Guinea, is wanted by the Australian government for charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. He was earlier appointed as attorney general by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has steadfastly defended the appointment.]

Meanwhile, the PNG defence department has suspended three pilots in connection with last week's secret departure of Mr Moti.

Mr Moti had sought refuge in the Solomon Islands High Commission building in the capital, Port Moresby.

PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare ordered an investigation into how a defence plane was used to transport Mr Moti to Solomon Islands.

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