CHARGES were laid last Thursday against the eight soldiers and the police officer implicated in the murder of 19-year-old Sakiusa Rabaka.
This was revealed yesterday by the Director of Public Prosecutions Office, which was forced to obtain a court order to bar the military suspects from leaving for peacekeeping duties in Iraq on Saturday.
In a statement yesterday, the DPP's Office said it chose to intervene after talks with the military broke down.
This, it said, was done after several unsuccessful attempts to talk with the military about Sakiusa, the Nadi youth who died while in military custody last January.
All nine suspects have been charged with murder and assault.
The charges were filed in the Magistrate's Court in Nadi on Thursday and the court summons were served on all by Friday, said the DPP's Office.
Patrick Nayacalagilagi is the police officer charged. National rugby reps Etonia Nadura, Jona Nareki and Napolioni Naulia were among the soldiers charged.
The other soldiers charged are Taione Lua, Ulalasi Radike, Ratunaisa Toutou, Joeli Lesavua, Ilaisa Kurimavua.
The DPP's Office said if the suspects had been allowed to leave on the UN-chartered flight on Saturday night, it would have deferred the case for an indefinitie period.
It thus pursued a stop order and issued it to the Immigration Department at the Nadi International airport on Saturday.
Immigration Director Viliame Naupoto said the soldiers were taken off the flight by the army at the airport. He said the officers names could not have been on the Immigration watch list if the officers made it through immigration.
Police Commissioner Esala Teleni said police supported the DPP's Office and would help wherever they could. He refused to comment further.
Military spokesman Lt-Col Mosese Tikoitoga refused to comment too. He referred queries to Lt-Col Sitiveni Qiliho who he said was responsible for the matter as he was in Nadi at the time of the incident. Lt-Col Qiliho could not be reached for comment.
Fiji Women's Crisis Centre hailed the DPP's Office for their work.
Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said answers must be provided on who and how the suspects were allowed to get as far as the airport.
She said the incident at the airport contradicted interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's recent utterances on the need for good governance.
"In the name of accountability and true justice, this is not good governance when the commander can't reflect it within his own army," she said.
This reflects that the DPP has maintained its independence in the legal system.
"How is it that innocent people like me get to be on the travel ban but these officers (suspects) are allowed to go?
The police have charged their own for the Malasebe case which happened after the Verebasaga and Rabaka cases," Ms Ali said.
The military suspects have been summoned to appear in court on November 23 while Nayacalagilagi's case is scheduled for November 25.