Monday, October 19, 2009
NZ declines judge's visa
Sayed-Khaiyum told reporters today he was informed by the Chief Justice that Family Court judge Justice Anjala Wati was advised “in an undignified and disrespectful manner that her visa application was rejected because she had taken up a position as a judge on the High Court of Fiji”.
Justice Wati had applied for a New Zealand medical visa to take her child for an urgent eye operation to prevent the loss of eyesight in one eye.
“It’s a very serious matter,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“This is at a much higher level than the travel advisories issued against Fiji in the past.”
“Such interference by a neighbouring State in the Fijian judiciary is unacceptable by any world standards.”
“Though we do not accept travel bans placed upon anyone in the Cabinet, the public service or the RFMF, a distinction is always to be drawn between the executive and the judiciary and other independent institutions. These institutions are separate and are independent of the executive and should be so respected.”
The matter would be referred to the Prime Minister tomorrow, Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said Justice Wati was now making arrangements to have the surgery carried out in India.
Officials at the New Zealand High Commission could not be reached for comment - Fijilive