FIJI REGIME RESPONDS TO ‘NEGATIVE’ MEDIA REPORTS

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Immunity decree doesn’t apply to coup convictions

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 14, 2010) – Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has cleared the air on the country’s immunity decree in response to negative reports by overseas media.

Sayed-Khaiyum questioned the basis of the attacks while referring to certain overseas media interviews with locals on the immunity.

He told journalists that the decree consolidates a number of related decrees implemented since 1988 and was enshrined in the 1990 constitution and 1997 Constitutions.

The decree, he said grants immunity to prescribed persons for the involvement of participation in the political events of 2000 and the abrogation of the constitution in April last year.

"It however, does not apply to persons who have already been found guilty and convicted and sentenced by court for any of the prescribed events or those found guilty in the attempted mutiny in November 2000," he said.

The gazetting of the decree also indicates that no compensation will be payable by the State to any person in any proceeding in court of tribunal in respect of any claim, damage or injury arising from any prescribed political event for which immunity has been granted to the persons covered.

"The state however, has the discretion to make ex-gratia payments to any person who has suffered injury to either the persons or the person’s property," he said.

People covered under the decree as prescribed persons include the former President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, former caretaker Prime Minister, Jona Senilagakali, PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, all members of the RFMF, Fiji police force, Fiji prisons service and all other persons who acted under the directions, orders, instructions or command of people who are covered under the decree.

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