BANISHED FIJI PUBLISHER FILES SUIT

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Russell Hunter challenges February deportation

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 6, 2008) - Former Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter’s lawyer today filed an action in the High Court in Suva challenging his deportation.

Hunter’s lawyer Suruj Sharma filed legal papers questioning the deportation of his client despite the issuance of an injunction preventing the Immigration Department from removing Hunter from Fiji. The case has been adjourned to April 18 to allow time for Hunter to finalize his options.

Hunter is also considering taking legal action against a former Fiji journalist who had distributed the hacked email correspondence to the media in Australia. This is against Australian laws.

Speaking from Australia, Hunter said he and his lawyers were considering all avenues. He added that he had yet to be told why he was "abducted" from his home or why he was deported.

On the issue of the e-mail correspondence, he said the Prime Minister or one of his advisers had been "very economical with the truth over the hacked emails."

"He has, for example, left out the part about Rajendra Chaudhry being tipped off about the story of the FIRCA board member's tax problem. There are other significant omissions," Hunter told Fijilive.

He claimed the email was hacked into by an unsatisfied former Fiji Sun employee, who he believed sold it to a third party.

"The media here (Sydney) also received it but declined to publish on the grounds that unconnected individuals were compromised and that it was otherwise a perfectly normal exchange between a correspondent going off at a tangent and an editor seeking to maintain focus on the matter at hand," Hunter said.

"The former journalist who received the e-mails from that third party and then distributed them to the media has committed an offence under the Australian law and we'll look into that also."

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