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ABA calls for return to rule of law in Fiji

ABA calls for return to rule of law in Fiji

The Vice President of the Australian Bar Association, Peter Riordan SC, has condemned the recent acts of the army leadership in Fiji, declaring that Fiji is now run by an illegitimate military…

The Vice President of the Australian Bar Association, Peter Riordan SC, has condemned the recent acts of the army leadership in Fiji, declaring that Fiji is now run by an illegitimate military dictatorship.

"The pretence that the military junta of Frank Bainimarama was acting in accordance with the constitution has been removed by the declaration of Fiji's Court of Appeal last Thursday," he said in a statement.

"It is now clear that Fiji is ruled by an illegitimate military dictatorship. It is critical that governments throughout the world, and particularly those of the South Pacific, act strongly and demand the return of democracy in Fiji.

"This is necessary not only because it is the right thing; but to support the brave people of Fiji in the media, the law and the community who are prepared to speak up and call for a return of the rule of law," he said.

Riordan's comments follow a dramatic series of events in Fiji after local appeal court judges ruled the military-appointed interim government illegal. In response, the South Pacific nation's constitution was repealed by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and the judiciary sacked.

The president of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, was arrested on Tuesday and detained for more than 24 hours.

Riordan said the Australian Government should monitor and seek personal assurances from Bainimarama to guarantee the personal welfare of the judiciary of Fiji and Australians living in Fiji.

"It is imperative that the Australian Government, through our Fijian consulate or otherwise, monitors the actions of the military regime - particularly for any interference with the courts, judges, lawyers or court users."

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ABA calls for return to rule of law in Fiji
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