New Zealand Law Society: Fiji PMs Comments 'Chilling'

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

'Severe' punishment for those joining breakaway state

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 14, 2015) – The New Zealand Law Society says comments from the Fiji prime minister about 'crushing' any disloyalty, are chilling.

In August Frank Bainimarama warned of severe punishment for anyone joining attempts to form a breakaway state.

The New Zealand Law Society is also concerned about complaints by a Fijian lawyer that he's been threatened by security forces over his involvement in high profile sedition cases.

Aman Ravindra-Singh is representing dozens of people, some accused of trying to set up a sovereign Christian state in Fiji and others alleged to have taken part in a para-military style group.

The New Zealand Law Society's, Austin Forbes QC, says Mr Bainimarama's comments were unhelpful when matters are before the courts.

"Terms that may have be used [by Frank Bainimarama] in this regard is that these people will be 'crushed' - that's a bit of a chilling comment. People should be entitled to exercise in a proper and lawful way their rights in terms of protest, in terms of seeking whatever they are looking for as to the political or social make-up of the country."

The chair of the New Zealand Law Society's Rule of Law Committee, Austin Forbes QC.

 

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