COURT HEARS TESTIMONY OF SOLOMONS KILLING

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 31) – The Solomon Islands High Court was told today that cabinet minister, Fr Augustine Geve, was executed on a remote beach after first asking his captor, militant leader Harold Keke, where he should stand to be shot.

The Crown Prosecutor, Ron Barry, says Keke and his deputy, Ronnie Cawa, then killed Father Geve with high-powered rifles, believing the minister had betrayed his constituents and stolen money meant for them.

Another militant, Francis Lela, has also been charged with murdering Fr Geve.

All three pleaded not guilty.

In his opening address, Mr Barry said Keke had earlier forced Fr Geve to write a letter of resignation to Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza.

Mr Barry told the court the catalyst for the execution was Keke’s discovery of a letter from Fr Geve to the Prime Minister saying he was being held against his will and asking for money to be put into his Honiara bank account.

Mr Barry told the court that Keke and Cawa both shot Fr Geve while Lela looked on.

Mr Barry said Keke had admitted in radio calls to a peace monitor the next day and later to police and a radio station that he had shot and killed Fr Geve for betraying his constituents and stealing money from them.

Cawa had also admitted to police that he and Keke shot Geve, and Lela had told police of the killing.

February 1, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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