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Fiji Government Releases Detained NZ Journalist

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SUVA (Pacnews/Pacific Media Watch): The Fiji Government has struck off the name of New Zealand journalist Michael Field - who was detained at Nadi International Airport earlier today - from a list of "prohibited immigrants", Pacnews reports.

Home Affairs Secretary Jeremaia Waqanisau said Field was wrongfully detained at Nausori Airport this morning after arriving from Auckland.

"We found out that the advisory on the computer was from the days of the Rabuka administration," he told Pacnews.

But he denied claims that the Qarase Government was at fault.

"The computer has to be updated on the list of people not wanted to enter the country," Waqanisau said. "It was just a slight hitch in the system and he is now released."

Field has visited Fiji several times in recent years for the international wire service Agence France Presse without being detained.

Former coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka was prime minister before being defeated in a general election by the Labour-led coalition of Mahendra Chaudhry in May 1999.

Field is in Fiji to cover the summing up of the treason trial of former Fiji Journalism Institute (FJI) training coordinator Jo Nata and a former Member of Parliament, Ratu Timoci Silatolu.

The two men are on trial for their alleged involvement in the May 2000 attempted coup by businessman George Speight. Speight is now serving a life sentence for treason.



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