Last edited: April 16, 2005

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 on bail.

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 books.  

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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