15 Apr 2005

Fiji Law Society criticises release of jailed ministers

3:38 pm on 15 April 2005

The Fiji Law Society has sharply criticised the release of two jailed Fiji government MPs, saying it undermines the judicial system.

The former minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, and government senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri were released from Labasa Prison yesterday after just 11 days of their 8-month sentence on coup related charges.

In a statement, the Law Society president, Graham Leung, says whatever reasons are given, there appears to be two categories of justice - one for the rich and powerful and another for the poor and unknown.

Mr Leung says the speed with which the convicted chiefs were released is a slap on the face of the judiciary.

He says this defies the principle that the law applies equally to everyone, whatever their social standing.

Mr Leung says their release is wrong and unfair as no one is special before the law.

The Law Society president says the way the judiciary is being undermined is doing nothing for investor confidence because the government keeps changing the rules of the game when it feels like it.