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11 November 2022

Fiji’s Sayed Khaiyum defends convicted rapist playing sevens

Monday 4 April 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Fiji, Regional

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Fiji’s Sayed Khaiyum defends convicted rapist playing sevens
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

Fijian Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the nation's prison laws allows the chief of the Corrections Services to let serving inmates participate in sporting activities.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed this in parliament after opposition MP Lenora Qereqeretabua asked for the policy that permits a prisoner "to play in a national rugby sevens competition."

Last month, women's rights groups raised concerns after a former Fiji sevens rugby player, in jail for rape, represented the Wardens team at Fiji Rugby Union sanctioned tournaments.

Sayed-Khaiyum said there are several schemes that empower the Corrections Commissioner to let convicts to engage in outside activities as part of their rehabilitation.

He said, at one point Fiji's rates of recidivism were 50 percent but that has decreased significantly.

"In conjunction with the Yellow Ribbon program, Sir, together with the various orders of the Commissioner of Corrections in fact Mr Speaker Sir, is working well in a holistic manner to ensure that the rates of recidivism drops in Fiji. The powers exist within the Corrections Act itself," he said.