CEREMONY TO MARK RELEASE OF FIJI COUP CONVICTS

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By Davila Waqausa

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Feb. 18) - The Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party has queried the need for a permit to hold a traditional welcome for three May 2000 coup convicts who are to be released today.

The trio includes former Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit leader Ilisoni Ligairi, coup frontman George Speight’s brother Jim Speight and former military officer Josaia Savua. They will walk free after serving a two-year sentence on coup-related charges.

Speight’s older brother and CAMV parliamentarian, Samisoni Tikoinasau, said because it would be just a simple ceremony, the need for a permit was not warranted.

"The party executives are handling the permit application which was lodged with the District Officer in Suva and I have not received word on the response so I assume that we do not need one.

"However, it is just a modest Fijian protocol ceremony and I don’t see the need to have any permits. There is no threat or risk to anyone for a permit to be given," Mr Tikoinasau said.

The party plans to have a ceremony of vakasobu and vakamamaca, which is held when people who have been away for a long time return home.

"We are also going to have a small church service for the three men," he said.

The ceremonies will be held at the Fiji Teachers Association Hall after they disembark at the Maritime School early this morning.

Asked whether there will be police presence, Mr Tikoinasau said they did not need to have security forces around because it was Fijian protocol to welcome people back after being away.

February 18, 2004

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

 

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