29 Jan 2003

Leaders of Labasa mutiny in Fiji get life imprisonment

7:05 pm on 29 January 2003

The two leaders of the 56 Fiji soldiers found guilty of mutiny at the Labasa army barracks at the height of the May 2000 coup have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Lieutenants Rupeni Vosayaco and Nemani Valeniyasana received the maximum sentence for the most serious crime in the army.

The court martial also sentenced the remaining 54 mutineers to terms ranging from three to ten years.

The president of the court martial, Colonel Ilaisa Kacisolomone, said althgouth they had taken into account the soldiers guilty plea, they couldn't overlook the seriousness of the offence.

He says the facts of the case called for a deterrent sentence because the soldiers had sought solutions to their woes by overthrowing a legal authority.

Colonel Kacisolomone says those who rebel against a governing authority must accept the judgment given to them.