FIJI COUP CONVICT TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISON

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By Davila Waqausa

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Feb. 11) - Former Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit leader Ilisoni Ligairi, whose involvement in the May 2000 coup led to his conviction in 2001, will be released from the Nukulau Island prison next week.

Commissioner of Prisons Aisea Taoka said last night two people would be released on February 18 but declined to say whether Ligairi was one of them.

Police sources confirmed last night that Ligairi was one of the prisoners set for release this month.

Ligairi was sentenced in February 2002 for three years but because he had been held in custody for a year, he had only two years left on his sentence.

Ligairi and coup leader George Speight’s brother, Jim Speight, Ratu Timoci Silatolu, Josefa Nata, Josefa Savua, Samu Konataci, Iliesa Duvuloco, Epeli Vuniwa, Apenisa Rovutiqica, Maciu Navakasuasua, Simione Drole and Maciu Naisogobuli were charged with committing 12 overt acts.

The first charge of treason was laid on Speight, followed by a separate joint charge against the 12 other accused including Ligairi.

Fiji Labor Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said last night that he could not make a comment yet on the matter and preferred to make a statement today.

FLP parliamentarian Poseci Bune, who was one of the hostages, said he had not known they would be released so soon.

"They have served their time and I hope they’ve learnt their lesson," he said. "However, it is disappointing that there are people still sitting out there who were directly involved in the takeover. They should give themselves up if they have some integrity."

Asked whether the investigations into the coup was justice for some of those who were convicted, Mr Bune said it would be best left to the police.

"I hope the sharks go out and get those big businessmen who financed it, these were just the minnows," he said.

When contacted last night Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Ligairi had served his term in jail.

February 11, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

 

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