An Australian tourist has been jailed for two years in Fiji for having consensual gay sex with a Fiji local.

Thomas Maxwell McCoskar, a 55-year-old retired university lecturer from Victoria, and Fijian man Dhirendra Nadan, 23, were sentenced on Tuesday after both pleaded guilty to one count of unnatural offence and one count of indecent practice between two males.

Gay sex is illegal in Fiji and attracts a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said an official from the Australian High Commission in Suva was visiting McCoskar in prison yesterday.

But the spokesperson said the department would respect the decision of the Fijian court.

When Australians are overseas, they need to respect the laws of the country they are in, the spokesperson told Sydney Star Observer.

The charges related to acts that took place in Nadi, in Fiji’s west, in late March and early April this year.

McCoskar and Nadan asked for leniency and said they saw nothing wrong with what they had done, the Fiji Times reported.

But Magistrate Syed Muhktar Shah called the acts something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit.

He said McCoskar’s actions approached pedophilia.

If you wanted to have fun, you should have stayed in Australia instead of trying to come to Fiji and exploit our young boys, the magistrate was quoted as saying.

With you being a former lecturer, you should have known that such indecent acts are illegal.

Democrats Senator Brian Greig joined Australian gay activists in condemning the decision.

The Australian Democrats condemn these archaic laws which are being maintained in Fiji and in some other parts of the world, Greig told the Star.

David Scamell, co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, said the jailing violated human rights.

Every human has the right to engage in private consensual sexual acts without fear of persecution or fear of being convicted as a criminal, he told the Star.

He called on the Australian government to put pressure on Fiji and other countries with similar anti-gay laws.

The best thing we can hope for is that the Australian government takes a proactive role in bringing these issues to these other countries.

National gay activist Rodney Croome agreed Australia needed to raise the decision with Fiji.

It’s absolutely vital the Australian government makes representations to the Fiji government immediately expressing its deep concern about what’s occurred and protesting the actions of the Fiji judiciary, he told the Star.

If Australia wants to see itself as a leading proponent of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, then it can’t let this outrage go unprotested.

Scamell said the case was a wake-up call to other Australians planning to travel abroad, who may not be aware gay sex is still illegal in many countries.

We think the case really does highlight the fact there is still a lot of discrimination and persecution of sexual minorities throughout the world, he said.

Regional gay lobby groups plan to hold a forum in New Zealand later this year to discuss, among other things, reform of anti-homosexual laws in Pacific nations, Australian Associated Press reported.

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