The Australian tourist jailed for consensual gay sex in Fiji was released on bail this week as protesters in Sydney expressed their outrage over the case.
Thomas Maxwell McCoskar, 55, and Fiji man Dhirendra Nadan, 23, were released pending a Fiji High Court decision after they appealed against their conviction and sentences.
The pair were last week sentenced to two years in prison for gay sex, which is illegal in Fiji.
The convictions came after McCoskar complained to Fiji police that Nadan had robbed him of $1,160.
Lawyers for the pair argued that Fiji’s criminal laws clashed with the country’s constitution, which protects against discrimination on the basis of sexuality.
Without any doubt there has been a miscarriage of justice, in my opinion, by virtue of the Fiji constitution and international human rights conventions, McCoskar’s lawyer Iqbal Khan was reported as saying by Australian Associated Press.
McCoskar was ordered to remain in Fiji pending the appeal. He and Nadan will reappear in court on 28 April.
Meanwhile, protesters in Sydney took to the steps of the Fiji Consulate-General this week to express their anger over the case.
Around 15 people, including federal Greens senator Kerry Nettle, demonstrated outside the North Sydney building on Monday and called on the Australian government to speak out against the imprisonments.
Senator Nettle said the Australian government’s silence over the McCoskar case contrasted with its vocal involvement in the Schapelle Corby affair in Bali.
The Australian government should be speaking out as a leader on these international standards within the Asia-Pacific community, Nettle said.