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Lawyer flees country, fearful of govt

Lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh fled Fiji a day before he was due to be sentenced for contempt of court and now has claimed that he did so because of fear of his safety from the government.

This claim has been denied by the Fijian Government.

He was sentenced to ten months in jail and he is yet to disclose his location fearing extradition. Mr Singh has claimed that he had been a human rights activist and vocal against the current Fijian Government.

He said he feared that even inside jail, he would not be safe at the hands of the security forces.

Lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh (middle) at a political meeting. Picture: Aman Ravindra Singh Facebook

Mr Singh was brought before a civil court by Fijian prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama and attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for defamation.

Mr Singh has made claims on his Facebook account that both the politicians were behind a series of sacrileges committed in Hindu temples.

In July 2020, the court ordered Mr Singh to publish an immediate apology and pay a sum of $120,000 (AU$66,000) as damages within 30 days from July 28, 2020.

He was also ordered to render in writing a public retraction and apology to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General in prominent print which was to be published on his Facebook page and in all local daily newspapers.

He was also ordered to remove the subject article from his Facebook page immediately and ordered to pay $8,000 (AU$5,300) as costs.

Mr Singh continued to make defamatory claims on his Facebook account which was in contempt of the court. On July 29, 2022 he was found guilty of contempt.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fijian Government had not made any deliberate attempts to find out where Mr Singh was.

Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: Fijian Government

He said Mr Singh’s actions had showed that even as a lawyer he had no respect for the law of the nation. He said the government will not be spending tens of thousands of dollars to extradite him.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Singh showed deliberate malice, disrespect, and cowardly behaviour.

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In 2014, Mr Singh became the party leader of the Fiji Labour Party after former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry was fined $2 million for breaching the Exchange Controls Act.

Mr Singh did not make it into parliament but since then has been vocal and critical of the Fijian Government. The government has hinted that they were aware where Mr Singh could be.

 

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