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Fiji bans delegation of international jurists 26/11/2008

For the second time this year, Fiji has prevented the International Bar Association from visiting the country to review the workings of the justice system.

The delegates, senior legal figures from Australia and Malaysia, had hoped to conduct a review of the rule of law in Fiji and meet judges and members of the legal profession next month.

However, the International Bar Association says it has been told by Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the visit is not welcome.

Following the military coup, Fiji's chief justice was sacked and the military government appointed new judges, with many commentators saying the courts in Fiji have now lost their independence.

The Fiji Law Society's president Dorsami Naidu has told Radio Australia this latest decision to keep the International Bar Association out makes the government appear dishonest.

"This regime is always talking about things being okay and the judiciary being independent etc and unless the interim government has something to hide I can't see any other reason for stopping these people from coming in."

Produced by Radio Australia and Australia Network

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