AUSTRALIA PROTESTS UNION ARRESTS BY FIJI REGIME

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Marles: ‘This is a concerning development’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 8, 2011) – The Australian Government has condemned the arrest of two trade unionists in Fiji.

Fiji Trades Union Congress president Daniel Urai and another union member face charges of unlawful assembly for holding a meeting without a permit.

Australia's parliamentary secretary for Pacific Affairs, Richard Marles, says the government has conveyed its concerns to the Fijian regime about human rights abuses in the country.

"What we're not seeing is any backing-off from Fiji in their desire to seek to prosecute the two union officials," the member of parliament said. "We understand they have been released but they are due back in court in the next few months. Again this is a concerning development and I don't think that any fair-minded person would think that it's reasonable that you ought to be the subject of a criminal charge by virtue of organising or participating in a meeting."

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