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Convicted rapist allowed play while serving sentence

By Chris Jones
Amenoni Nasilasila of Fiji breaks away from the defence in the match against New Zealand during day two of the 2018 Sydney Sevens at Allianz Stadium on January 27, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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Fijian rugby authorities are expected to face pressure to explain why Former Fiji 7s player Amenoni Nasilasila was taking part in the Skipper Cup competition for Namosi against Tailevu at the weekend despite still serving a sentence for rape.

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He was jailed for eight years in 2019 for raping a 24-year-old woman at Olosara, Sigatoka on 22 December, 2018.Nasilasila is serving his sentence at the Naboro Corrections Centre, and the Fiji Times reported that he started the match at fly half and finished off at fullback.

The 30-year-old’s cousin is Lote Tuqiri the dual Australian rugby international and made his Fiji 7s debut at the 2014 Dubai Sevens scoring a try in the 54-7 win over France but did not make the Fiji squad that won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

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There was widespread condemnation of Nasilasila’s previous inclusion at a local tournament in February with Fijian human rights advocate Shamima Ali then calling then for the “immediate withdrawal” of Nasilasila from the Wardens team, saying it was “beyond belief” that he was allowed to represent the government department.

She added: “He is a convicted rapist and it is beyond belief that the Fiji Corrections Service has allowed him to play in the Wardens side – he is not a warden, he is an inmate.”

However, despite the anger and negative publicity generated by that decision earlier the year, the player has once again been allowed to take part in an important domestic rugby competition.

World Rugby responded to his previous appearance making it clear the game’s governing body did not not condone any person convicted of a serious crime and currently serving their sentence undertaking any official rugby activities under Union jurisdiction.

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In September 2021, Nasilasila appealed against his conviction and filed a bail pending appeal application which was also refused by Acting Resident Judge, Justice Chandana Prematilaka.

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