Fiji opposition leader Mahendra Chaudhry on Monday vowed to fight charges brought by the Pacific nation's military regime after being released on bail following more than three days in custody.
Mr. Chaudhry and five other men were arrested on Friday and accused of staging an illegal assembly at rural Rakiraki, breaking emergency laws that prohibit public meetings, the opposition leader told AFP.
“All of us have been bailed out and the case goes back to court on Wednesday,” he said.
Mr. Chaudhry said he was not required to enter a plea during Monday's court appearance but intended to fight the allegations.
“The charge as it was read out in the court is that we assembled at one of the accused's residences unlawfully,” he said.
“We'll certainly be defending ourselves. We had no unlawful purpose in mind.”
Asked if he felt he was being targeted by the regime of Fiji's self-appointed military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama, Mr. Chaudhry replied: “I'd rather not answer that at the moment.”
Mr. Chaudhry became Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader when elected Prime Minister in 1999. He was overthrown a year later in a coup led by nationalist George Speight.
As leader of the Fiji Labour party, he is one of the main opposition voices in Fiji.