23 Apr 2007

Fiji High Court orders interim administration not to interfere with activist's freedom of speech

10:34 am on 23 April 2007

The Suva High Court has ordered the military and the interim administration not to interfere with the freedom of speech and work of a prominent NGO activist.

Angie Heffernan, of the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity, had sought the order after she claimed she feared she might be arrested if she criticized the military as part of her work.

Justice Jiten Singh ordered that the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, the military and the interim attorney general be restrained from interfering directly or indirectly with Ms Heffernan or her right to express her views.

The military says the High Court ruling indicates that the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law are still intact.

But it stresses that the Public Emergency Regulations are still in force and should be followed.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says the ruling has a number of legal and factual anomalies and the state will appeal it.