HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS PROTEST FIJI SODOMY RULING

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 12) – Human rights groups around the world have condemned Fiji’s anti-gay sex laws following the jailing of two men who had consensual sex..

The Nadi magistrate’s court last week jailed a retired Australian lecturer, Thomas McCoskar, and Fiji national Dhirendra Nandan for two years after convicting them of indecent practices between men.

The Lautoka High Court released the two men on bail yesterday but Justice Kishore Govind imposed strict conditions including the surrender of their passports and not changing their address.

Justice Govind said he was duty bound to invite the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, and representatives from the Citizens Constitutional Forum and the Fiji Human Rights Commission to assist in the hearing of the appeal.

As protests continue in Australia and New Zealand, the New York-based Human Rights Watch has mounted a world wide campaign to free the two men.

Human Rights Watch says the convictions are a reminder that Fiji’s sodomy laws threaten the dignity, equality and privacy of individuals.

The British government has issued an advisory to its citizens travelling to Fiji to be very careful before engaging in homosexual acts.

Strict sodomy laws exist on Fiji’s statute books even though the constitution forbids discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

April 13, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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