9 May 2009

Amnesty International says early release shows no rule of law in Fiji

9:28 am on 9 May 2009

Amnesty International says the early release of soldiers and police convicted of manslaughter in Fiji shows there is no rule of law operating in the country.

Eight soldiers and a police officer have been released despite being sentenced in March to four years and four months in prison for the manslaughter and assault of Sakiusa Rabaka in 2007.

Another army officer, Maika Vainuwawa has also been granted release after being sentenced in early April to three years in prison for the manslaughter of a villager in Tailevu two years ago.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand spokesperson Margaret Taylor says the early release sends a message to soldiers and police that they can get away with manslaughter.

"What this kind of decision doesn't do is give people in Fiji and around the world any confidence that Fiji is operating by the rule of law, indeed its not and that also it is allowing its military and police officials to step outside the justice system."

Margaret Taylor says Amnesty International is encouraging governments around the world to apply pressure on Fiji to restore the constitution and the rule of law.