FIJI COURT ORDER LAWYER TO SURRENDER PASSPORT

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Human rights advocate and husband face charges

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Jan. 11, 2010) - A Fiji magistrate’s court has ordered a human rights lawyer, Imrana Jalal, to surrender her passport until a case brought by the anti-corruption agency has been concluded.

Ms. Jalal, who is a member of the International Commission of Jurists, is facing seven charges in relation to a Suva city council matter.

The magistrate’s court has adjourned the case until January the 28th.

She has said the charges are trumped up as part of the military’s campaign to try to silence critics, who have internationally the highest credibility.

Ms. Jalal says she had already been prohibited from joint overseas travel with her husband, who faces similar charges.

She says a month ago, her five-year child was prevented from travelling to Brisbane.

Meanwhile, the interim attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has warned her not to comment about cases before the courts.

He has told Radio Fiji she should adhere to court procedures and not go out and make political comments.

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