Masons jailed over Fiji sorcery claims
Wednesday 15 July 2009
A New Zealand man spent a "wretched" night in a Fiji prison cell after frightened residents and police raided his Freemasons meeting, suspecting witchcraft and sorcery.
The man, who didn't want to be named, blamed "dopey village people" for the raid in which 14 members of the Freemasons Lodge of Lautoka were herded into police cars and jailed for the night.
Police also seized lodge paraphernalia, including wands, compasses and a skull.
Yesterday, the man told the Herald that Tuesday night's meeting was "interrupted by a banging on the door and there were these village people and the police demanding to be let in".
Nothing sinister had been going on but "such is the nature of life in Fiji" they were taken to a nearby police station, he said.
The Masons were told nothing of the allegations against them, but were warned that under Fiji's emergency decree, they could be jailed for 48 hours without charge.
The lodge secretary showed police a copy of the permit allowing the meeting, but was told the permit was not the problem.
The commanding police officer then disappeared, leaving the 14 men to spend the night in the cells.
"It was hot and wasn't very comfortable, because there was nowhere to lie down," the man said. "The officers who were guarding us were pleasant, though, chatting away to us."
At 8.30am yesterday, an officer let them go, saying the Prime Minister's office had ordered they be released.
The man said he was outraged that overly suspicious villagers had been able to convince police to "totally abuse their power".
He said the police should have told the villagers to calm down.
"The stupidity is overwhelming. Virtually unlimited power is placed in the hands of bungling police, who have no judgment or sense of balance, so, at the whim of an uneducated villager, 14 senior members of society had to spend a night locked up."
A police spokesman said the men were arrested because police had been tipped off that a meeting was being held and there were "some strange goings-on".
* Source: The New Zealand Herald.
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
New York snowstorm: Death toll rises to 10 as residents battle with further snowfall
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Chelsea balcony collapse: Two people dead and six injured in London
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...