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Fiji Time: 10:48 AM on Friday 18 April

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Immunity granted

Saturday, January 20, 2007

MILITARY commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and his men have been granted full and unconditional immunity by the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

A gazette released by interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday supports the actions of Commodore Bainimarama and the military on December 5.

"And whereas the commander of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces reluctantly intervened by the declaration of a state of emergency on December 5, 2006 and other acts subsequently including as holding the office of acting President of the Republic of Fiji between December 5 and January 4, 2007, to return the governance of the nation to an honest path," Ratu Josefa said

"It is my sincere and firm deliberative belief that the best and wisest course, in the interest of restoring law, order and peace, harmony and good government so that our beloved nation will become stable and grow prosperous is by the reserve powers of the Constitution inherent in the President and by the constitutional law and common law of Fiji and by all other laws so as pertaining to grant full and unconditional immunity from all criminal or civil or legal or military disciplinary or professional proceedings or consequences."

The decree also includes all police officers, prison officers and "anyone else who acted under the directions, orders or instructions of any of the above people".

Meanwhile, Commodore Bainimarama gave his assurance that the interim Government was committed to upholding and respecting each and every person's human rights as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution.

He said he would invite NGOs to the next Cabinet meeting on January 30 to discuss the takeover.