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A Fiji opposition political leader has accused the government of a “transition to a police state” with middle of the night arrests of critics.

“Fiji’s transition to a police state is well under way,” said National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad after a former Fiji surgeon was arrested during the curfew on Tuesday night and following the detention of nine political dissenters last month.

“This is evidenced by the late-night arrest of Dr Jone Hawea in Lautoka and his immediate transfer to Suva for questioning,” Dr Prasad said.

Dr Hawea was being arrested and intimidated because his views on vaccination did not conform with government policy.

“This is just the same as the detention of NFP MPs and activists last month because we disagreed with [the iTaukei Land] Bill 17,” Dr Prasad said in a statement today.

“These middle-of-the-night arrests happen regularly now. Charges are never laid.

“Arrested people are accused of ‘breaching public order’ but everyone knows this is not true. In fact, despite repeated provocations by the FijiFirst government, our people have remained peaceful and calm.

‘Nothing’ on human rights
“And we hear nothing from our alleged human rights champion, Mr Ashwin Raj.

“We hear nothing from the government’s chief legal officer, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“He is the one who coined the now-mocked phrase ‘true democracy’.

“Why is he, as a leading lawyer, not standing up for the democratic right of free speech?

“We are now a democracy in name only. We can only hope that the FijiFirst Party does not interfere with our rights to vote at the next election. Because most of us cannot wait to exercise those rights and throw them out.”

Fijivillage News reports that Dr Hawea is still in police custody and would be questioned again today.

It has received confirmation that Dr Hawea was being questioned for allegedly sharing “misinformation” about the covid-19 virus.

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