FORMER FIJI SPEAKER RELEASED FROM JAIL EARLY

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 29) - The former Deputy Speaker of Fiji’s Parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, has been released from jail to serve the rest of his sentence extramurally.

Radio New Zealand International reports Rakuita was sentenced to six years in prison in April 2004 after being found guilty of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence by purporting to become the Attorney General in George Speight’s failed administration during the coup.

The Fiji Court of Appeal rejected his first appeal against the sentence but a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court recently resulted in the sentence being reduced to four years.

The Commissioner of Prisons, Aisea Taoka, has confirmed that he has approved Rakuita’s release as an extramural prisoner.

Attorney General, Senator Qoriniasi Bale, has the final say on who is released as an extramural prisoner but he has not been available for comment.

Bale has previously granted extramural releases to the jailed former Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli, and a number of government ministers and senators sent to prison for coup-related offences.

June 30, 2006

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com .

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