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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star,October 30) – The Australian government is trying to silence the voices of suffering and remove obstacles to its ambitions in the Solomon Islands, says suspended attorney-general Julian Moti.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the Pacific furor, which erupted over Australia’s pursuit of him on child sex charges, Moti has accused the federal government of trying to gag him.

"I begin to think that this entire pursuit of me is not bona fide," Moti said, in an exclusive interview with the Nine Network’s Sunday program aired yesterday.

"I believe they are, in the pursuit, trying to silence me forever by locking me up somewhere so that the voices of suffering are not heard."

"I am an advocate of the voices of suffering. My silence is necessary to disable the government of the Solomon Islands."

Australia has been accused of arrogance and bullying over its handling of the Moti affair, with police raiding the office of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare while investigating how Moti escaped PNG on a secret flight to the Solomons.

Mr Sogavare has chosen Moti as his country’s attorney-general.

Moti said he could not comprehend why he was being cast as a fugitive, and was "distressed" that Australia had branded him as such.

He questioned the child sex charges, which stem from allegations that were thrown out by a court in Vanuatu in 1999.

"If it is a simple matter of law it was a simple matter of law nine years ago, when these charges were first brought," he said

"If I was exonerated then, how many times does one have to prove one’s innocence?"

The Australian government had made it very clear it had ambitions in the Solomon Islands and Oceania - a vision which he did not share, Moti said.

"It seems to me that people like myself who have a different view about development, globalization and colonization and its reinvention are not people whom the Australian government favors," he said.

"The Australian government views me as someone who would obstruct the implementation of their agenda for the development and repression of the Solomon Islands."

Moti said he had kept silent long enough, and the time had come for him to speak out, realizing "silence is not golden in the field of international relations."

He remains in Honiara, where he is facing immigration charges relating to his escape.

Mr Sogavare has claimed he had offered to return Moti to Australia to face the charges on the condition that he was granted bail and not tortured.

Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the offer had made no reference to concerns about Moti’s safety nor any reference to torture, and had been declined on the grounds it had required an agreement to unrestricted travel and bail - the former being a matter for an Australian court.

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