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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Solomons AG Moti fears assassination amid Australian 'vilification'

Solomon Islands Attorney-General Julian Moti says he fears a vilification campaign against him by Australia will lead to his assassination, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Julian Moti, a Fiji-born and Australian citizen who is wanted in Australia on child sex charges, says Canberra sees him as a threat to the "regime" established in the Solomons under laws governing the Australian-led law and order mission in the Pacific nation.

The Solomons government has previously accused Canberra of using the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as a tool to achieve its political objectives.

Last year, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare fought unsuccessfully at a Pacific regional forum to water down Australia's role in RAMSI, but has since pursued a review of the laws that set its parameters.

Mr Moti said he must start writing his epitaph and feared he did not have long to live.

"I thank God for each day I remain alive. You only have to read what has happened elsewhere to people with my mentality to know that I won't live long," he said in a statement.

"The typical pattern of the elimination plan is to discredit morally, then attack professionally before arranging an assassination. We've just entered the next phase of Australia's vilification campaign against me and I must start writing my epitaph."

Moti, an Australian lawyer, was sworn in as the Solomons attorney-general in July, despite the serious nature of the Australian charges.

Moti and Sogavare, his close personal friend, have repeatedly accused Canberra of engaging in a political witchhunt.

Mr Sogavare has rejected Australia's request to extradite Moti, who police allege raped a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Moti denies the charges and maintains they were dismissed by a Vanuatu court.

The Australian Government denied it was running a vilification campaign against Moti, but said it wanted him to face justice.

''There is an application to have him extradited in accordance with Australia's laws,'' a spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

''The allegations that have been made against him are very serious and all the Australian government wants is for those allegations to be fully tested in a court of law.''

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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