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Fiji Police to Question Deposed PM Over Treason Allegations


Authorities in Fiji say police will question the deposed prime minister this week about allegations he committed treason before the coup that pushed him from power.

Laisenia Qarase is accused of treason because he allegedly requested Australian military assistance to prevent last December's coup.

Fiji's military commander Frank Bainimarama led the takeover after months of conflict with the democratically-elected prime minister. The coup leader accused Mr. Qarase's government of corruption and of favoring the indigenous majority over the country's ethnic Indian minority.

Mr. Qarase denies he committed treason. He says he only asked Australian Prime Minister John Howard about what assistance Canberra could provide his government.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Monday the treason allegation is strange because Fiji's government was installed by a military coup, which she called a seditious and treasonable act.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.