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By Samantha Matai

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Aug. 7) – A second group of 21 soldiers charged with attempting to overthrow the Fiji Army Commander in September 2000 were sentenced yesterday to prison terms ranging from three to six years.

Court martial president Colonel Matereti Sarasau said the crimes called for a severe sentence.

Those sentenced include:

In his judgment, Col Sarasau said: "The people of this nation and the international community saw this once respected institution reduced to a group of disgruntled men who did not think twice before killing and maiming their fellow comrades."

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces, he said, was now tainted with mutiny and had murderers and traitors among its ranks.

In the case where a few soldiers claimed that they were no longer working under the RFMF when the mutiny occurred, Col Sarasau said the army record proved that they were serving soldiers and continued to receive their salaries from Government.

No consideration was given to the period of remand and the sentences were effective as of yesterday.

August 9, 2004

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

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