22 FIJI SOLDIERS PLEAD GUILTY OF TREASON

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By Frederica Elbourne

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Oct. 22) – More than a third of the 58 Fiji soldiers charged with mutiny in 2000 pleaded guilty on day two of the military court martial yesterday.

Some 58 soldiers who marched into Parliament to support coup leader George Speight in May 2000 were charged with treason, unlawful confinement and mutiny.

Some 22 pleaded guilty to mutiny and not guilty to the other two charges.

The remaining 36 maintained a not guilty plea to all three charges.

Private Iliesa Liganivai’s plea was not taken this week pending a psychiatric examination on his mental capacity. This, according to the defence counsel, would be ready within the next two weeks. The defense earlier attributed Pt Liganivai's mental condition to severe physical abuse he sustained from beatings by the military assault team after the May 2000 coup.

The fate of the 22 soldiers who pleaded guilty will be determined on Tuesday when their sentence will be handed down.

October 22, 2004

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

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