2 Oct 2002

Fiji's attorney general says the death penalty will go

7:32 pm on 2 October 2002

Fiji's Attorney General, Qoriniasi Bale, says he can't see anything to prevent the president from commuting the death penalty if 15 soldiers facing a court martial for mutiny are found guilty.

And, he says he's holding discussions with the minister of home affairs, who oversees the army, for the removal of the death penalty from military law.

It's already been abolished from civil law after coup front man, George Speight, pleaded guilty to treason.

His death sentence was then commuted to life imprisonment.

Mr Bale says parliament will not be able to abolish the death penalty in time for the court martial but the president, as commander in chief of the military, has the powers to reduce the sentence.

"I believe that there is nothing to prevent our Head of State, the President, from reducing the death penalty to a lesser penalty, ...I do not see any reason why that cannot be done, because it has to go up to the President in the normal way"

The mutiny, which was aimed at assassinating the military commander and freeing Speight, resulted in the deaths of eight people and more than 30 others were injured.