Tuesday, May 26, 2009
We have promoted on this blog some stories about the deteriorating situation in Fiji following the military coup and the emergency declaration that followed a Fijian court decision that found that the current military government is unlawful.
The government responded to that court ruling by abbrogating the Fijian Constitution on April 10, 2009 and since then taking many repressive measures against lawyers and others who support the rule of law.
The Solomon Times Online is reporting that that people in Fiji are afraid of being caught using the internet because they fear being accused of reading anti-government websites.
The Solomon Times Online also reports that plainclothes policemen raided the offices of the Fiji Law Society this past weekend.
The Fiji Law Society was also told of a new decree by the Interim Military Government that removed the Society's standing to regulate lawyers. Click here to read the government press release establishing an "Independent Legal Commission."
Finally, the interim government also issued an order stating that ALL lawyers in Fiji will need the approval of the new Chief Registrar to continue practicing beyond the end of June 2009, a role that was taken by the Fiji Law Society until the new decree. Under the decree, the 16th following the abrogation of Fiji's Constitution on April 10, anyone who continues to practice after June 2009 without a proper legal practitioners certificate will face fine of up to "$10,000" or imprisonment of up to "2 years, or both". Lawyers will need to apply by June 15 to be able to practice until February 2010.
Click here to read the government press release on the Legal Practitioners Decree.