Fiji Prime Minister Tells Foreign Gays to Mind Own Business
April 13, 2005
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
SUVA—Fiji’s Prime Minister,
Laisenia Qarase, says foreign gays and international human rights groups
should keep noses out of the country’s affairs.
Qarase said Wednesday that he has no intention of
repealing a law that provides for sentences up to 14 years in prison for
anyone convicted of committing homosexual acts.
The Fijian government has under intense pressure to get
rid of the law after an Australian tourist and a local man were sentenced to
two years behind bars for having gay sex. The pair were released on bail this
week as they await an appeal.
In a radio interview Qarase said that the Bible clearly
states that homosexuality is a sin and Fiji’s law reflected that. He also
accused the men of making pornography.
While they wait Thomas Maxwell McCoskar and Dhirendra
Nadan have been ordered not to leave the country. McCoskar, a retired
Australian university professor, was ordered to surrender his passport.
Lawyers for the two men say the convictions were
unconstitutional. Gay and lesbians have protections under Fiji’s 1998
Constitution, but old former colonial laws banning gay sex remain on the
The lawyers say that that the constitutional protections
that ban discrimination based on sexuality void the prohibition on gay sex.
McCoskar and Nadan were each sentenced to two years in
prison last week.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Syed Muhktar Shah
described their behavior as “something so disgusting that it would make any
decent person vomit.”
Their case has led to protests from local and
international civil rights groups.
On Monday Australian gays demonstrated in front of the
Fijian consulate in Sydney. The protesters called on the Australian government
to become involved in the case.
US-based Human Rights Watch also has criticized the
convictions saying they violate international principles.
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