SURPRISE IN FIJI OVER "LENIENT" COUP SENTENCES

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Dec. 2) - Most political parties in Fiji say jail sentences handed out to George Speight’s cousin, Varenava Tiko and others for the forceful seizure of Korovou Town and its police station in support of the coup are too lenient.

Tiko and two villagers have been jailed for two years while four others have received lesser terms.

The Daily Post quotes the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, as saying sentences give the impression that the law is too lenient on such offenders.

The Labor Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says an appeal should be filed against the sentences because they are too light.

Mr Chaudhry says the real culprits are businessmen but any names forwarded to police are dismissed because they say there is insufficient evidence.

The National Federation Party leader, Prem Singh, says the sentences are inadequate because they do not fit the crime.

The spokeswoman for the SVT party, Ema Druavesi, says although they sympathize with the families of the seven, they must face the music.

Mrs Druavesi has also questioned the SDL government’s promise to let these men walk free when they formed their coalition wit the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party.

The leader of the Fiji Democrats, Filipe Bole, says given the magistrate’s comments, he was surprised with the light sentences.

December 2, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/

 

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