Fiji’s former Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was granted $10,000 (US$5,000)non-cash bail Tuesday.

Sayed-Khaiyum appeared before Chief Magistrate Wahleen George in Suva Magistrates Court.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions David Toganivalu served Sayed-Khaiyum’s lawyers Davenesh Sharma and Gul Fatima his first phase of disclosures.

Counsel Davenesh Sharma told the Court that they would need time to look through the disclosures before taking Sayed-Khaiyum’s plea.

The Court has ordered Sayed-Khaiyum not to leave the country, not to interfere with the prosecution witnesses, not to reoffend, and report to the Namaka Police Station, which is closest to his residence in Matintar, Nadi every last Saturday of the month between 6am and 6pm.

FijiFirst MPs Viam Pillay and Praveen Bala appeared as Sayed-Khaiyum’s sureties.

The matter has been adjourned to 13 June for plea and for the second phase of disclosures to be served.
Plea has been deferred to allow the defence counsel to look over disclosures served by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sayed-Khaiyum appeared in court from Totogo Police Station where he was held overnight after being charged for abuse of office.

The charge relates to a complaint lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa with Police earlier this year, relating to the review and approval of former Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem’s remuneration which occurred one and a half years after the commencement of his new contract without proper approvals.

Among the amendments allegedly made to Saneem’s contract was a salary increment, which was backdated to the preceding one and a half years, and an agreement by the Government to pay his tax due on the back pay.

Initial complaint documents stated these remunerations and allowances were said to have been paid to Saneem during the campaign period of the 2022 General Election.

Meanwhile, the Coalition Government is using illegal and inhumane tactics to degrade, shame, torture, and persecute their political opponents, says Fiji Opposition Member of Parliament Viliame Naupoto.

Naupoto in a statement said the Fiji Police Force under the Coalition Government has breached the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in the case of FijiFirst General-Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“Most recently, Sayed-Khaiyum was unnecessarily paraded around in handcuffs. Did the police believe there was a risk of him escaping? An investigation and explanation are warranted.

“Political persecution is a grave threat to the democratic fabric of any society.”

He said when opposition members are unfairly targeted and arrested for their political views; it not only violates their fundamental rights but also undermines the principles of justice, fairness, and democracy.

“The use of Police to parade opposition politicians in handcuffs only serves to further humiliate and intimidate them, and it violates human rights conventions that protect the dignity of all individuals.”

“When political persecution is allowed to go unchecked, it creates a culture of fear and intolerance, stifles dissent and critical thinking, and ultimately undermines the foundations of democracy.”

“It also sends a chilling message to other members of society who may hold opposing views, silencing their voices and preventing them from participating in the democratic process.”

Naupoto said in order to safeguard democracy and protect the rights of all individuals, it is imperative that we speak out against political persecution and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

“We must strive to ensure that justice is served fairly and impartially and that the fundamental principles of human rights and the rule of law are upheld at all times.”

“The actions of the Police are tantamount to the abridgement of states’ obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the state has acceded, as well as the states’ obligations under the rights of arrested, detained, and accused persons guaranteed under the Fijian Constitution.”

“We are also concerned about the possible racist nature of this incident. After Shaenaz Voss was picked up on Eid, it seems that Sayed-Khaiyum is also being treated differently than other people charged with the same offence.”

“Racial discrimination is in breach of the UN Convention, the ICERD, the international convention on the elimination of racial discrimination, and Section 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji.”

“Most concerning is the silence of the UN Human Rights Office, the various embassies of countries that claim to support the cause of human rights, the international community, and the local and international media.”

He added that those who take pleasure in the torture and degrading of others are just as bad as those who remain silent and say nothing.