20 Nov 2004

Fiji's first jailing for marital rape

9:08 am on 20 November 2004

A Fiji magistrate's court has handed down the country's first jail sentence for rape within marriage.

The Nadi magistrate's court has jailed a 44-year old farmer for ten years for the forceful abduction of his estranged wife, wrongful confinement and repeated rape in a pine forest.

The farmer told the court that his estranged wife was his legally married partner - and he could do as he pleased.

But magistrate Sayed Mukhtar Shah said he had to send the man to a long jail term as women and girls had to be protected from animals like him.

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre welcomed the country's first conviction for marital rape, adding that it is not unusual for husbands to abduct their wives after a separation and rape them.

The centre's deputy coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, says the 10-year sentence would act as a deterrent and that other courts should start taking a similar stand when dealing with sexual offences.