FIJI COUP LEADER SPEIGHT IN ANOTHER COURT APPEARANCE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 18, 2001 – Radio Australia)---May 19, 2000 coup leader George Speight made another court appearance today, just two days short of the first anniversary of his civilian insurrection.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that for security reasons the court hearing was held on the prison island of Nukulau, located off shore from the capital.

"This was the last remand hearing before Speight and the inner core of his supporters begin a lengthy committal proceeding, what's known in Fiji as a preliminary inquiry.

"That preliminary inquiry is listed to start on May 29, and is expected to run for several months.

"Under Fiji law the media is banned from reporting the evidence produced before such an inquiry because of the influence that might have on assessors who will assist the judge, if the treason case does result in a trial before the High Court.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia, Suva."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

 

FIJI HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION NOTES DRAMATIC INCREASE IN COMPLAINTS SINCE COUP

SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 17, 2001 – Radio New Zealand International)---The Fiji Human Rights Commission says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of complaints lodged with it since the coup last year.

Director Shaista Shameem says some of them have been made by members of the Army’s Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Unit, which was disbanded after the group carried out a mutiny in a bid to kill the army commander.

The unit also supplied the gunmen who took the government hostage a year ago.

Dr. Shameem says many complaints relate to the crisis caused by the coup.

"A lot of them have to do with the crisis last year, particularly the counter-revolutionary warfare soldiers who are still being detained by the military - and they are complainants to the commission.

"There are also the farmers who have been displaced and the refugees in Lautoka – they’re complainants to the commission," Dr. Shameem added.

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.

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