New Zealand Law Society - Law Society concerned about alleged threats to Fijian lawyer

Law Society concerned about alleged threats to Fijian lawyer

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The New Zealand Law Society has joined the Fiji Law Society in urging respect for the rule of law following claims by a Fijian lawyer that he has been threatened.

Mr Ravindra-Singh has claimed that he and his associates have been threatened and people close to him attacked because he is acting for people who have been accused of sedition.

Mr Ravindra-Singh is representing people who have been brought before the courts in recent months, some accused of trying to set up a sovereign Christian state in Fiji and others alleged to have taken part in a paramilitary style group.

"The allegations are serious and we must be mindful that the rule of law and rights of all Fijian citizens are protected, whether that's equality before the law, the right to have representation, freedom of speech and human rights protection," New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.

"We agree with the Fijian Law Society that intimidation of whatever sort for any lawyer representing their clients is unacceptable.  No matter how unpopular the cause, a lawyer is duty bound to act in his or her client's best interest. The safety of all lawyers who are promoting the protection and rights of Fijian citizens must be paramount.

"The New Zealand Law Society welcomes acting Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho's assurance that police will investigate Mr Ravindra-Singh's claims. It is very important that the police and government are seen to be actively supporting the rule of law.

"We also recognise and applaud other initiatives in Fiji to ensure the rule of law remains paramount. The Fiji Parliament's unanimous agreement in March this year to formally ratify the UN Convention Against Torture is a good example of this."


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