AMNESTY GROUP CALLS FIJI SOFT ON COUP CRIMES

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 19) - Amnesty International
says human rights are being sacrificed for political considerations in Fiji
three years after a violent coup.

It said Fiji’s military is still preventing the prosecution of
soldiers who tortured at least four suspected rebels to death in a coup related
mutiny.

Amnesty said the civilian and military justice systems remain
compromised by their failure to act on evidence of torture and extra judicial
executions.

It also pointed to problems with the handling of politically
sensitive cases in which prosecutors and witnesses fail to turn up, allowing
suspects to walk free.

It said leaders who cooperated with the coup rebels remain in
high political office, while perpetrators of racist and other violence, mainly
against Indo-Fijians, have been let off the hook.

Amnesty said such selective use of the rule of law will not
inspire confidence in Fiji’s justice system, or help its efforts to restore
community peace and political stability.

It said recent reason charges against the vice president, Ratu
Jope Seniloli, and several others, are belated steps in the right direction, but
more needs to be done.

May 19, 2003

Radio New Zealand International:
www.rnzi.com

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