5 May 2008

Fiji interim attorney general defends Hannah deportation process

1:37 pm on 5 May 2008

Fiji's Interim Attorney General has defended the deportation order which saw the Fiji Times publisher removed from the country on Friday.

Evan Hannah, an Australian citizen, was arrested last Thursday and deported to Sydney via South Korea.

Fiji's Minister of Defence, National Security and Immigration, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, said the removal order was based on credible evidence and advice and Mr Hannah's actions were breaching the national security of Fiji.

The Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum denies that the High Court ordered a stay on Mr Hannah being deported.

"There was no High Court order to stop his deportation. You will see that there was a writ of habeas corpus which is very different from an injunction stopping someone from being deported. The matter is before the courts at the moment and is being called again on Wednesday this week, thus the matter rests until such time."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum

A former President of the Fiji Law Society says the failure of Fiji's Human Rights Commission to denounce flagrant breaches of human rights has not gone unnoticed around the world.

Graham Leung says the failure by the Human Rights Commission to comment on the deportation of Mr Hannah is laughable.

He told the Fiji Times the Commission hadn't been a credible and independent body since December 2006 when the military staged a coup.

The FHRC was not commenting on the deportation.

An official referred all queries on the deportation to the Attorney-General's Chambers or the Ministry of Information.