9 Feb 2010

New Fiji crime decree geared to suit regime, says NGO

8:00 pm on 9 February 2010

The media in Fiji are to get training on the new Crimes Decree which came into effect at the beginning of this month.

A former High Court Judge, Nazhat Shameem, has already held training sessions for the police, public prosecutors and interested lawyers.

The interim regime has argued the penal code needed modernising to take account of developments such as the internet and international obligations.

But the legal advisor for the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement in Australia, Tui Savu, says the decree has been tailored to suit the regime:

"One is to water down the provisions and they think this will be able assist them should they be held accountable and second is to try to show to Australia and New Zealand and to the international community that they are trying to act like, to use the word pragmatic, to be seen to be acting responsibly and so they are trying to make the international community see that they are being very serious."

Mr Savu says parts of the incitement and sedition section are likely to intimidate, but he says the people of Fiji have learnt to accommodate just to survive.