Analysis

No Place For Sex Offenders in Fiji

In his Facebook post, Mr Koroilavesau said he believes the region needs to be more worried about other important matters than Rugby and told readers to let Corrections do its job.
09 Nov 2019 12:35
No Place For Sex Offenders in Fiji
Amenoni Nasilasila outside the High Court in Lautoka on September 20, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Analysis:

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau has been under fire for social media comments where he defended former sevens player Amenoni Nasilasila who is serving 8 years in prison for rape.

In his Facebook post, Mr Koroilavesau said he believes the region needs to be more worried about other important matters than Rugby and told readers to let Corrections do its job.

Mr Koroilavesau had directed these comments to a statement by Oceania Rugby which expressed disappointment that Nasilasila was connected with an unofficial Oceania 7s scrimmage session between the Warden 7s team and the Tuvalu 7s team last Tuesday.

So why worry? These comments were unbecoming of a Minister and a former Acting Prime Minister of Fiji.

Nasilasila is a convicted rapist who is being given special treatment, sending a dangerous message to Fijians, especially children: that rape is okay. What is worse is, Corrections were not doing their job.

Under the Corrections Services own rules, anyone convicted of rape is to be incarcerated at Naboro Maximum Prison and banned from going off-site. This was a breach of their own rules.

Mr Koroilavesau then went on to say that he merely believes in second chances, using the Yellow Ribbon programme for reference.

Again the Honourable Minister for Fisheries is misguided.

The Yellow Ribbon Programme is only for prisoners when they are due to finish their sentence and is designed to ensure that they are able to reintegrate into society and are able to earn a living. It most certainly does not entitle a prisoner to get special privileges 5-days into his rape sentence.

The Minister was supported by many other misguided Facebook users including former convict Ben Padarath, who like the Minister was unaware of the Yellow Ribbon rules.

Unfortunately for Honourable Koroilavesau, the excuse that this was just his personal opinion just doesn’t cut it. He is a public personality, a Minister of Government and is supposed to set an example for thousands of Fijian boys and girls.

Making excuses and sympathising with convicted rapists is wrong.

His Facebook post was set to public viewing meaning any of the 500,000 Fijian users could view it at any time. It still hasn’t been removed when this edition went to press.

Fiji Sun has always maintained the stance of standing against all forms of sexual violence. Unlike other newspapers, we do not go silent when these matters are aired in public just to please some. We tell the truth as it is.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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