Last edited: April 16, 2005

Fiji Imprisons Tourist for Having Gay Sex, April 6, 2005

By The Associated Press

SUVA—A retired Australian university lecturer was sentenced to two years in prison for having gay sex with a local man in Fiji where such acts are outlawed, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Thomas Maxwell McCoskar, 55, from Victoria state, told magistrate Syed Muhktar Shah he did not know it was illegal in Fiji to engage in sex with Dhirendra Nadan, 23, according to the report in The Fiji Times.

Both were jailed Tuesday for two years after admitting charges of “committing an unnatural offence” and “indecent behavior”.

They faced a maximum 14-year sentence after admitting to engaging in sex and taking photographs of themselves naked between March 24 and April 3. McCoskar said he had just retired and had traveled to Fiji for “some fun.”

The magistrate described their behavior as “something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit.”

He told McCoskar: “If you wanted to have fun you should have stayed in Australia instead of trying to come to Fiji and exploit our young boys.”

While Fiji’s laws prescribe up to 14 years imprisonment for homosexual activity, prosecutions are now rare. Police turn a blind eye to widespread solicitation by male prostitutes in the capital, Suva, and at the international airport in Nadi.

Advocates for Fiji’s LGBT community are pressing the government to abolish anti-gay laws, but are fiercely opposed by the powerful and deeply conservative Methodist Church of Fiji.

In a statement, Australia’s Foreign Ministry said it had sent consular officials to visit McCoskar in prison.

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