8 May 2009

CCF in Fiji says release of manslaughter convicts undermines rule of law

1:06 pm on 8 May 2009

The Citizens' Constitutional Forum in Fiji says the release of eight soldiers and a policeman convicted of manslaughter undermines the rule of law.

Those convicted were freed only weeks into their four-year jail sentence for their role in the 2007 death of a teenager, Sakiusa Rabaka.

The CCF's chief executive officer, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says the government should publicly explain the need to release these prisoners.

He says the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama as Caretaker Prime Minister, and the Police Commissioner Esala Teleni are blatantly disregarding respect for justice by these acts of favouritism for army and police officers.

CCF is concerned there is no opportunity for judicial review of the decision because there is no High Court.

Four weeks ago, all judges were sacked and to date the interim regime has repeatedly failed to appoint a new judiciary despite saying for weeks it was only days away.