Fiji Grants Bail to Gay Sex Pair
April 12, 2005
By Peter Hacker, Sydney, Australia Bureau
SUVA—An Australian tourist and a
Fijian sentenced to two years in prison for having gay sex have been released
The pair have begun an appeal of their sentences. 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.
Yesterday 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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