FIJI CONSTITUTIONAL FORUM DEMANDS EXPLANATION OF RELEASE

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Reverend Yabaki says regime repeating mistakes of last government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 10, 2009) – The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum in Fiji has called on the interim government to publicly explain why eight soldiers and a policeman convicted of manslaughter have been released early.

The men convicted were freed only weeks into their four-year jail sentence for their role in the 2007 death of a teenager, Sakiusa Rabaka.

Another army officer has been granted release after being sentenced in April to three years in prison for the manslaughter of Tailevu villager, Nimilote Verbasaga.

The forum’s chief executive, Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the interim government is repeating the mistakes made by the Qarase government which released 10 people under compulsory supervision orders.

"They have not learnt the lesson from the way the law was disrespected in 2000. And if they did a coup to put things right they are not doing it right now. They are setting a bad example to young people in our country and it will definitely send the wrong message to soldiers."

Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the early release is abhorrent to the rule of law.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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