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By George Herming

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 14) – Convicted Guadalcanal rebel leader Harold Keke screamed at the top of his voice in the Solomon Islands High Court yesterday after his application for amnesty was deferred until next year.

The notorious rebel leader, currently serving a life sentence, apparently expressed his disappointment over the delay in his trial.

High Court Judge, Justice Frank Kabui yesterday decided to hear the warlord’s amnesty application next year on a date yet to be fixed.

Keke is standing trial along with his brother Joseph Sangu. Both are charged with illegal possession of fire arms. Events surrounding the charges occurred before 2000.

Sangu also applied for bail and a decision for his application will be heard this Friday.

Keke furiously leaped inside the dock and screamed at prison officers when they handcuffed him after Justice Kabui left the courtroom.

"Don’t you know that I am Keke?" he yelled. "You treat me like a stupid man. I am Keke and I am fighting for my rights."

Keke’s lawyer, Ken Averre said the court would decide next year on whether or not amnesty will be a pretrial issue in the case.

Keke has been jailed earlier for life for the murder of Catholic priest Father Augustine Geve, a cabinet minister, in 2002. Keke and two of his associates, Ronnie Cawa and Francis Lela were found guilty of the murder.

Father Geve was shot dead on a remote beach on the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal.

During the murder trial, Keke claimed Father Geve was misusing money meant for his constituents in the Weathercoast region.

He was also responsible for a string of atrocities, including alleged torture and beheadings, during the ethnic crisis.

Three other GLF Rebels are also standing trial over the death of six Melanesian Brothers (Tasius) who were shot dead in the Weathercoast in 2003.

The rebels claimed that the Brothers were sent by the government to spy on Keke’s position and the types and number of weapons he possessed.

Keke and the GLF also refused to sign the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA) in 2000 which paved the way for the surrender of a significant number of weapons from both Malaita and Guadalcanal rebels.

The GLF blamed the TPA for the increased killings in the Weathercoast prior to the arrival of RAMSI in mid 2003.

September 14, 2005

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