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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

FIDJI

11 January 2010

 

Fijian lawyer   who serves as a human rights advisor

 to the United Nations Development Program

Imrana Jalal

 

 

ordered to surrender her passport

 

.

Source : 

 

 

Imrana Jalal is a Fijian lawyer and activist of Indian descent, who serves as a human rights advisor to the United Nations Development Program and as a member of the International Commission of Jurists, a body of sixty eminent judges and lawyers, to which she was elected in May 2006. A former Fiji Human Rights Commissioner and founding member of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, who has worked with Coalition members on law reform and human rights issues, Ms Jalal has a long record of public opposition to all unlawful, undemocratic regimes.  

 

The  Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)   politically-motivated charges against human rights lawyer, Imrana Jalal, by 1 January 2010.  FICAC, headed by a military officer, was established after Fiji’s 2006 military takeover to investigate and prosecute corruption, but instead has also been used to persecute persons not supportive of the military regime. Ms Jalal was publicly served with seven charges alleging breaches of the Public Health (Hotels, Restaurant and Refreshment Bars) Regulations, the Food Safety Act and the Penal Code.   Similar charges were previously brought against Imrana Jalal’s husband, Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia. The restaurant charges normally attract a penalty of FJD20.00 (USD10.00) and are Suva City Council offences. Imrana Jalal  has not been involved in its day to day operations.

 

Despite the administrative nature of the charges, on 11 January 2010, a Fiji magistrate’s court has ordered Imrana Jalal, to surrender her passport until a case brought by the anti-corruption agency has been concluded.

The magistrate’s court has adjourned the case until January the 28th.

Ms Jalal says she had already been prohibited from joint overseas travel with her husband, who faces similar charges. She has said the charges are trumped up as part of the military’s campaign to try to silence critics, who have internationally the highest credibility.

 

 

A short Biography : Imrana P. Jalal, sometimes known as Patricia Jalal, 48, is a lawyer in Fiji specialising in human rights and activist of Indian descent, who serves as a human rights advisor to the United Nations Development Program. A former Fiji Human Rights Commissioner and founding member of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, who has worked with Coalition members on law reform and human rights issues, Ms Jalal has a long record of public opposition to all unlawful, undemocratic regimes.  Imrana Jalal is a preeminent expert on Pacific Islands feminist issues and regional law. She is author of the reference book Law for Pacific Women: A Human Rights Handbook. Imrana Jalal is  known as an outspoken opponent of the Military regime that seized power on 5 December 2006   

 

In 2006 she was elected to the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists and sits on the boards of International Council of Human Rights Policy and Greenpeace Australia-Pacific. She did much of the legwork in drafting Fiji's Family Law Act which was enacted in 2003, and is human rights adviser to the United Nations Development Program.

Incredibly, in a country where women and people of Indian descent like her are openly despised by indigenous Fijian in government and the military, she was elected to the Fiji Rugby Union executive in 2001 in a bid to bring some accountability to the faction-riven body.

 

Jalal, frequently finds herself the centre of unwanted and unpleasant attention. The fundamentalist Methodist Church called her "an evil force in society" accusing her of trying to destroy the institution of marriage because her message to Fiji's women was that it was your right to be treated with respect. A ratu, or chief, stood up in the Senate and in a speech denouncing Jalal declared that every time he read one of her articles he wanted to rape her himself. She has been threatened with rape, death and detention  and her family in Brisbane worries constantly about her safety. Travel restrictions against Ms Jalal and other women human rights defenders have been part of the continual harassment through abusive use of laws and legal process, threats and deportation.by the current military regime.

 

Her marriage to an indigenous Fijian chief, Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia, offers little protection – on the contrary, Jalal's outspokenness makes him a target for ridicule and persecution. Ratu Sakiusa has been dismissed by the military from his job as CEO of Airports Fiji Limited.

 

For more : Read the interwiew to thewitness.org, international journalist Cristina Verán   about the ways that race, religion, custom, and law figure on the post-colonial national construct of Fiji and the lives of its female citizenry at :  http://www.thewitness.org/agw/veran091703.html

Please call  on Fiji’s military regime to

  • Stop the harassment of Imrana Jalal, her family, and other women human rights defenders
  • Uphold the human rights of all Fiji’s people, including those working in the defence of human rights.
  • Return to a democratic system based on the rule of law and respect for human rights

 

Please take action on behalf of   Imrana Jalal,

Copy the enclosed letter and send it to the address provided.

 

ADRESSES: 

 MEMBERS ONLY

 

 

LETTRE: 

 

[your name here]

 

MEMBERS ONLY

 

[signature i]

 

 

 

 

PLEASE ACT NOW.

THANK YOU.

 

 

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