9 Aug 2013

High profile citizens' rights advocate in Fiji sentenced

6:33 pm on 9 August 2013

The Citizens Constitutional Forum in Fiji has been fined almost 9,000 US dollars and its chief executive, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, has been handed a three month jail term suspended for one year.

The CCF and Yabaki had been charged with contempt of court.

The High Court judge Justice William Callanchini ordered the CCF and Yabaki to each pay court costs of 1,100 US dollars.

Justice Callanchini has also ordered the CCF to draft a public apology which is to be sent to the High Court for approval within the next 28 days, before it is published in the Forum's monthly newsletter.

The Fiji Times reports the Attorney General described an article published in the Forum's Tutaka newspaper in April last year as a scurrilous attack on the judiciary, claiming it posed a real risk of lowering and undermining the authority of the judiciary and the court.

The article reported on the outcome of an investigation by the United Kingdom Law Society Charity on the independence of the judiciary in Fiji.