21 Jun 2008

Fiji's Human Rights Commission claims interim regime right to deport publishers

7:45 am on 21 June 2008

The Fiji Human Rights Commission, the FHRC, claims in a report that there were no breaches of human rights in the deportation of expatriate newspaper publishers, the Australians Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah.

Fiji television says that in the 40-page report, the FHRC, which is close to the military regime, has gone so far as to say the deportations were long overdue.

The report stemmed from a complaint made to the Ombudsman, Dr Shaista Shameem, by former Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes.

Dr Shameem is in charge of the Commission.

The FHRC was provided documents by the Interim Prime Minister, the Interim Minister for National Security and the Interim Attorney General, for the investigation.

It also says additional evidence was provided by other unnamed sources.

The report is also critical of three Fiji NGOs for comments about the judiciary.

It says the Commission finds no substance in the allegation that the rights of Mr Hannah and Mr Hunter were breached.

And the FHRC says the owners of the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun and other media may be in contempt of court for the persistent attacks on the judiciary and the administration of justice.