FEARED SOLOMONS EX MILITANT RELEASED ON BAIL

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By Robert L. Iroga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 23) – Former Malaita Eagle Force commander Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea was bailed yesterday after spending four years in Solomon Islands jail.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, Lusibaea was acquitted of double murder charges last year.]

Lusibaea’s supporters crammed the high court area, hugging and shaking the hands of one of the most feared Malaitan ex-militants.

Lusibaea only snapped his hand with the top sign when asked about his first taste of freedom after many years in jail.

"I’m okay," he replied when asked by the Solomon Star outside the High Court.

Justice Sekove Naqiolevu bailed Lusibaea after the crown and Lusibaea’s lawyer Gabriel Brown consented to have him out on bail.

Lusibaea is facing one count of demanding money with menace from the QQQ Shop.

He is released on bail until his trial on November 5.

Justice Sekove ordered that Lusibaea pays SB$500 [US$71.75] with three sureties, report to Naha Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 7 a.m. –9 p.m.

He was also ordered to reside with his wife Vika Koto, remain within the area of Honiara (being from Balasuna Village to Tambea) and not to travel beyond the area without permission of the High Court.

Lusibaea is also required to be at his home between 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day, and not to approach or contact prosecution witnesses listed on the information of the three High Court matters.

The bail came only a week after the Court of Appeal ruled Lusibaea’s five-year jail term be back-dated to the time he was arrested and remanded in custody.

The ruling effectively means Lusibaea had already served his full five-year jail term.

The Central Magistrate Court sentenced him in July 2004 on robbery charges.

Lusibaea was arrested on October 16, 2003 – three months after the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) arrived.

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