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Actions said to increase risk of instability and violence

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2009) – Fiji’s military junta has started destroying court documents and rewriting the country’s law books amid fresh calls from the United Nations for a return to democracy.

The UN Security Council is the latest international organisation to condemn the military regime’s new power grab and abrogation of Fiji’s constitution.

The country’s self-appointed prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who has ruled since December 2006 coup, has also censored the media and delayed elections for five years to strengthen his grip on power.

Current council president, Mexico’s Ambassador Claude Heller, said the "brazen" developments increased the risk of instability and violence in Fiji.

"The security council sees the situation as a step backwards away from the restoration of democracy," Heller told Radio New Zealand.

He said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon strongly deplored the measures and had been in direct contact with the military government to express his dismay.

"The council would reconvene soon if there was no change in the situation," Mr. Heller said. But as the council’s tough line was announced, blog websites reported the newly-appointed chief registrar, Major Ana Rokomokoti, has begun destroying court documents related to the coup.

The website Intelligentsia, which is carrying news anonymously amid censorship, described the registrar "shredding away justice from our courts".

Fiji Law Society president Dorsami Naidu said the actions were a vain attempt to protect an illegal government.

"I have heard they have shredded all paperwork and files on actions pending against the military regime," said Naidu, who has been detained and questioned for opposing the regime.

"They’re wrecking it to try to get away with what they’ve done."

The government has also released a new decree which states that it can no longer be legally challenged on rulings made between the coup date and when the constitution was abrogated. "None of the decrees or decisions made by government since the 5th of December 2006 to the 9th of April 2009 can be questioned or challenged in any court in Fiji," the news website Fijilive reported.

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