8 May 2009

Amnesty International concerned about end to rule of law in Fiji

1:50 pm on 8 May 2009

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, says it's very disappointed by the early release of military officers convicted of manslaughter in Fiji.

Eight soldiers and a police officer have been released despite being sentenced in March to four years and four months in prison for the manslaughter and assault of Sakiusa Rabaka in 2007.

Another army officer, Maika Vuniwawa, has also been granted release after being sentenced in early April to three years in prison for the manslaughter of a villager in Tailevu two years ago.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand spokesperson, Margaret Taylor, says the cases show that there is no rule of law in Fiji now.

"It is sending the wrong message that it looks now like the military and police in Fiji can get away with manslaughter at the very least. And we are also concerned too that the new public emergency regulations that came in post the abrogation of the constitution that they no longer need to be held accountable even if their conduct does result in death or injury of a person."

Margaret Taylor says Amnesty International holds grave concerns for Fiji and its failing human rights record.