30 Jan 2010

Fiji Law Society says pension cut could deter judges from speaking out

10:22 am on 30 January 2010

The President of the Fiji Law Society says fear of losing their pensions under a new decree could deter some judges from speaking out against the interim government.

The decree gives the Prime Minister the power to stop government pensions and benefits to those who criticise or undermine the regime, or incite hatred.

It specifically includes the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act among the legislation it covers.

That's led the Law Society President Dorsami Naidu to say some judges, many of whom speak out about what's happening in the country, may be worried.

He says the threat of losing their pensions could make them think twice about their comments, if they do not have an independent income.

"For some it would because that's the only livelihood they have. They would have no other source of income with which to survive. So they would keep quiet at least, keep mum as it were."

Dorsami Naidu says the wording of the decree is open to interpretation and Commodore Bainimarama has said it will be used to target those who speak out.