FIJI LEADER SEEKS PROBE OF NEW COUP CONFESSIONS

SUVA, Fiji (RNZI, Jan. 8) - Fiji’s opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, is calling for an independent commission of enquiry for three people who say they want to confess what they know about the 2000 coup.

They’re reported to have gone to their Naitisiri chief, Ratu Loco Qiolevu, who told them that police should be present when they make a statement.

Beddoes also says coup front man, George Speight, should be offered a reduced sentence if he’s willing to turn state’s witness.

He says only "foot soldiers" have spent any time behind bars and it’s about time that those who planned and funded the coup were revealed.

"The attorney general, if they are serious about getting to the bottom of this, should take this as an opportunity to set up an independent commission of enquiry, get the commonwealth to appoint a high court judge, and lets hear the confessions under oath, and in a proper set up."

Beddoes says when parliament resumes, he’ll file a private member’s motion to hold a commission of enquiry and will ask that MPs be allowed to vote according to their conscience.

The information that there could be new revelations about the coup comes as nine of the eleven prisoners convicted of involvement have applied for early release under a compulsory supervision order.

January 8, 2003

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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