SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, December 21) – George Speight, the 2000 coup frontman, was yesterday escorted from his idyllic island confinement to a maximum security cell.

After almost six years of being [imprisoned on] a picturesque island, Speight and the 17 former Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit soldiers who were jailed for the November 2, 2000, mutiny, were transported to the mainland and escorted to their respective maximum prisons.

Speight will spend the remainder of his life sentence for treason in the Naboro maximum security prison.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji’s Naboro prison is notorious for overcrowding and "inhuman" conditions. ]

The ex-CRW prisoners have been placed in the Suva, Nasinu and Naboro prisons.

The relocation was directed by military commander and self-appointed President Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama who ordered the closure of the island prison facility on Monday.

Some family members were on the island in the morning helping the prisoners pack personal belongings.

George Speight's brother, Samisoni Tikoinasau, the former State Minister for Public Utilities Reform, was at Nukulau to help his brother.

"He was happy and was really looking forward to the change in environment," he said. "I had gone earlier in the day to collect some special mementos that we intend to keep, including some of his personal items that needed to be taken home," he said.

The 18 men were greeted by family and friends when they arrived at the Maritime School jetty at Laucala after 2pm yesterday.

Speight and some of the ex-CRW men arrived first on the Nukulau with a team of soldiers and prison wardens and the others arrived moments later on the Nukulau 2.

All were in prison uniform with "Nukulau" printed on the back of their shirts. The prisoners looked cheerful and relaxed as they disembarked.

Moments before they split up, the prisoners hugged each other with tears in their eyes.

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