Rex Gardener, the Fiji Times publisher who replaced Evan Hannah, the publisher that was forcefully deported from Fiji last year by the interim government, has also been served with deportation papers today and expected to leave tomorrow.According to Fiji Times, the 'order was signed on Friday by the permanent secretary for Defence, Peniame Naqasima, but served this afternoon on Mr Gardner in his office in Suva' after the interim government declared Mr. Gardner, 'Fiji Times Limited publisher and acting CEO, a prohibited immigrant and has ordered his removal from the country'.
According to Fijilive, 'Gardener's expulsion follows a High Court ruling last Thursday that found the country's oldest newspaper in contempt of court and fined the daily $100,000' for 'admitted guilt for publishing a letter that criticised the court's validation of the 2006 military coup'.
'As a result the Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for two years while Gardener was discharged on the condition that he not break any law for a period of 12 months'.
According to the report, Immigration Director, Viliame Naupoto, explained that it was because of Mr. Hunter's guilty plea on contempt of court that automatically puts him in breach of his work permit.
'Interim Minister for Immigration and Defence Ratu Epeli Ganilau said although he was not involved in signing Gardener's deportation papers, the Australian's removal should not come as a surprise', telling Fijilive that "Gardener's deportation was to be expected following his contempt of court case."
"You can't expect the State to sit around doing nothing. If we were overseas they would do the same thing!" he added.