Political activist charged with attempted murder remains in police custody after court appearance  

A Tongan political activist will remain in custody until next Monday  after he appeared at the Magistrate court yesterday.

‘Asiate Māsima (inset)

As we reported last week, ‘Asiata Māsima, 54, of Ha’ateiho was arrested at his residence on Saturday 18.   

Police later said he had been charged with attempted murder and further charges may be laid.

Māsima was a democratic movement activist widely known to his followers on Facebook with his livestreamed videos promoting more reforms to the current political system.

He has been charged with attempted murder after a livestreaming footage via social media, police said.

Police said Māsima was ordered to remain in police custody until Monday, 27 November 2023 and his bail terms will be further reviewed on Wednesday, 22 November 2023.

“Additional charges may pursue after our ongoing investigation into this matter”.

As we reported last week, the supporters of the PTOA (Democratic) Party and movement in Tonga alleged the arrest was made after a political rival group complaint to the police. The supporters have accused the Tū group’s leader of inciting violence against Māsima.

The two rival supporters have armed themselves with social media groups and accounts especially on Facebook and YouTube to incite dares, trade insults and make threats.

Police said: “Meanwhile, Tonga Police takes this opportunity to remind all users of social media, to refrain from further comments and engaging in activities on social media that could jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigations. Any actions or statements that incite violence, promote hatred, or compromise the safety of individuals will not be tolerated and will be investigated for potential prosecutions.

“Tonga Police is committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring a fair and impartial investigation. We will continue to work to gather all relevant evidence and explore any potential links to other individuals or groups involved in these incidents”.

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