8 Oct 2002

Coup prisoners in Fiji awaiting decision on release under supervision

4:54 pm on 8 October 2002

The Assistant Commissioner of prisons in Fiji says any decision to release ten prisoners convicted of taking part in the coup, under supervision, will be made by the Minister of Justice.

And Opeti Laladidi says the prison service is yet to make a recommendation one way or another.

This follows a report by local media that the ten could be home in time for Christmas.

Mr Laladidi says the applications have been received but the prison service has to take into account a police report, a social welfare background report and any objections to the release of the prisoners.

"We have to be very careful with recommendations that we put in. It so reflect a lot of things, it's not only their behaviour. You know if they have support from outside to be released or if there are other people objecting, the situation of the country, those are the kind of things that are taken into consideration."

Mr Laladidi says under a compulsory supervision order, a prisoner is only required to report to a police station once a month but cannot associate with known criminals and has to serve the rest of his sentence in prison if another crime is committed.

He says otherwise, the prisoners can seek work and are free to do as they please.

Coup front man, George Speight, is seeking a pardon for his conviction and is not included in the ten seeking a release from prison under supervision.