August 06, 2012

Fiji politician allegedly targeted by police

Posted August 06, 2012 12:30:55

The daughter of a prominent Fiji politician says her mother is being unfairly targeted by police as she awaits trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

Dr Mere Samisoni, 74, is due to go on trial later this month after being charged with attempting to overthrow the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama in 2011.

She was detained by police in Suva on Friday for alleged reckless driving.

Dr Samisoni's daughter, Vanessa Charters, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that eight officers and three police dogs took her mother away for several hours of questioning before releasing her without charge.

Ms Charters says the arrest was politically motivated as her mother is not a reckless driver.

"I know for a fact my mother is a typical grandmother behind the wheel and she does not drive in any kind of dangerous way," she said.

"If anything she's boring, risk adverse and over cautious."

Dr Samisoni intends to stand at the next election scheduled for 2014.

Ms Charters says the authorities view her mother as a threat to their power base.

"She's very beloved in her constituency and I think that there are a lot of people who are very concerned," she said.

"They do not want her to stand in the next elections and I think that a lot of what's going on is an attempt to prevent her from being able to."

But Ms Charters says her mother hasn't been deterred by recent events.

"She knows that Fiji deserves to have the best leadership and the best elected government that we can have," she said.

"So she doesn't take these kind of things to heart, but obviously as a family we're very concerned for her physical wellbeing."

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