29 Nov 2004

Call for more transparency over controversial early release of jailed Fiji vice president.

3:17 pm on 29 November 2004

The president of the Fiji Law Society, Graham Leung, says there are growing concerns that the executive arm of the Government is undermining the judicial system.

He was commenting after the attorney-general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, released vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, from prison after he had served just three and a half months of this four-year jail term.

Mr Bale released Seniloli under a compulsory supervision order, on medical grounds but has refused to say what they are.

Mr Leung says the early release is likely to have dismayed the judiciary and reinforced the perception that Seniloli is above the law.

He says the decision lacked transparency and deserves serious scrutiny.

"This has all the appearances of different sets of justice being meted out to different people on the ground of social standing."

Mr Leung says there are consititutional grounds for Seniloli's removal as vice president but suggestions are that he will resign of his own accord.