FIJI POLICE SEEK ADVICE ON COUP CHARGES

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 14) – Fiji police are awaiting advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before pressing charges against those alleged to have been involved in financing the 2000 coup.

A diplomat is alleged to have been involved in financing the coup leaders in their mission to overthrow the People’s Coalition Government.

Acting Director Corporate Communication Sylvia Low confirmed that police were awaiting the Director of Public Prosecutions’ advice. "We cannot confirm as yet if a charge will be laid because the matter is still being investigated upon and legal advice taken," she said.

It is believed that police also will not be able to charge the person alleged to have made threatening calls to Fiji Labor Party member and leader of Opposition Mahendra Chaudhry because of lack of evidence.

However, police reiterated that officers were close to completing their investigations into the financiers of the 2000 coup.

Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes said the case was a particularly difficult one to deal with. "This is because of the shadowy nature of the deals that were done and people’s reluctance to come forward," he said. "We still have two files there on individuals whom we allege were involved in financing [the coup] and that’s still to be considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions."

[PIR editor’s note: Last month, Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes denied recent criticism that police investigators have been slow to probe the 2000 coup. He noted that more than 2,000 people were processed, 782 have been charged and convicted for a total of 28 offence types under the Penal Code, according to police records (read related story).]

February 15, 2006

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