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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Photos Of Alleged Fiji Constitution Draft Burning Published
Police commissioner ‘surprised’ by photographs

By Indrani Krishna

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 8, 2013) – A suspended Suva lawyer has published three photos, one of which showed documents being burnt and another of Professor Yash Ghai appeared to be consoled by another person, that have since led viewers to believe the photos were taken moments after police seized copies of the Fiji’s draft constitution from printers.

Rajendra Chaudhry posted the photos on his Facebook page today, with the third photo showing four policemen who appeared to be in deep discussion.

However, Fiji’s Commissioner of Police, Iowane Naivalurua told FijiLive that they are standing by their earlier statement.

"I did not know and [was] surprised as nothing of this sort happened. We are standing by our earlier statement," Naivalurua said when contacted about the pictures.

In an interview with a daily last week, the head of police had said that the 599 copies of the draft constitution were not burnt and had been kept in the Totogo Police Station.

Ghai had made the claims in an interview with Radio Australia adding that they were only doing their job to uphold transparency and accountability.

His actions were strongly condemned by Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga who had said the Constitution Commission's only and final task after the drafting of the document was to hand it over to the president as stated in Decree 57 and Decree 64.

He said the commission's work ceased with the handover and that public consultation of the draft constitution is reserved for the Constituent Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly is supposed to hold its first sitting this week.

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