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SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 27, 2002 – Fiji’s Daily Post/Pasifik Nius)---Fiji coup front man George Speight's guilty plea to treason was a planned bargaining move in which the judiciary was involved to ensure that the big players remained hidden from the public eye, says deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, reports the Daily Post.

Chaudhry told Parliament this was obvious as he had been interviewed at great length yet not one person named in his statement to police had appeared in court charged with even a minor offence relating to the May 19, 2000 overthrow of his People's Coalition Government.

"There are some who are trying to glorify such acts but I think we owe it to our children to get back on track ... to the rule of law, fairness to the fabric of national consciousness," he said.

Chaudhry said it was lamentable that whenever a government was overthrown the argument of protecting indigenous rights came up as an excuse.

"Indigenous rights have got nothing to do with it ... it is a pity that it is used just as a power play," he said.

Chaudhry said the coup raised a lot of questions about the security forces, as it was known that money changed hands during the May mayhem.

"It is time we feel for the nation, unlike those who are more concerned about filling their pockets."

Chaudhry said both sides of the current Lower House were scared for their lives and, with security beefed up, all that remained was for barbed wire fences to be put in place around the debating chamber.

"I am sorry if I have hurt some people's feelings ... with these words I support the abolition of the death penalty."

* The Penal Code Amendment Bill was passed on Tuesday for the abolition of the death penalty, which had been until now still on Fiji's statute books for piracy and treason.

Title -- 3544 POLITICS: Speight plea a 'planned move', says Chaudhry Date -- 27 February 2002 Byline -- Josephine Prasad Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji's Daily Post, 27/2/2 Copyright – DP Status -- Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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