2009-11-21 15:36:50 UTC
Fiji freemasons held for sorcery
A group of freemasons have had to spend a night in jail in Fiji, after
local villagers complained they were practising witchcraft.
The 14 men, including eight Australians and a New Zealander, had been
holding a night-time meeting on Denerau island.
The New Zealand man told reporters he had spent a "wretched" time in
jail, and blamed the mix-up on the actions of "dopey village people".
Police also seized wands, compasses and a skull from the freemasons'
Freemasonry is a centuries-old club that practises secret rituals and
has more than five million members worldwide.
The New Zealander, who did not want to give his name, told the New
Zealand 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 was going on, he claimed, but "such is the nature of
life in Fiji" they were taken to a nearby police station.
The freemasons insist they had a permit for the meeting and were
released after spending an uncomfortable night there.
Police director of operations Waisea Tabakau told Legend FM News in
Fiji that the group was being investigated for "allegedly practising
sorcery", the Fiji Village website reported.
The New Zealand man said that when they were freed the following
morning, they were told their release was on the orders of the prime
Emergency regulations imposed by Fiji's military regime allow police
to detain people for up to 48 hours without charge.
When a freemason is being initiated into the third degree he is struck
on the forhead in the dark, falling back either into a coffin or onto
a coffin shape design. His fellow masons lift him up and when he opens
his eyes he is confronted with a human skull and crossed bones. Under
this death threat how can any freemason of third degree or higher be
trusted, particularly in public office? He is hoodwinked literally and
metaphorically, placing himself in a cult and under a curse.