Fiji government defends coup as legal in court hearing Brett Murphy at 9:26 AM ET
[JURIST] Lawyers for the current acting Fijian government argued in court Wednesday that the December military coup [JURIST report] was legal because Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo [official profile] had reserve powers that permitted the president to dismiss the government and appoint new leaders. Former Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase [BBC profile] brought the lawsuit [JURIST report] against the acting government, saying that the coup that ousted him was illegal, and that it was orchestrated by armed forces chief and current self-appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama [BBC profile]. Lawyers for the acting government say that Bainimarama sought and received permission from Iloilo to dismiss Qarase as prime minister, but Qarase argues that Bainimarama threatened Iloilo with a complete takeover if he did not agree to the dismissal.
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