15 Nov 2002

Fiji court martial sentences mutiny leader to life in jail

5:13 am on 15 November 2002

A court-martial in Fiji has sentenced the leader of the November 2000 mutiny, Captain Shane Stevens, to life imprisonment.

The head of the court-martial, Col Ilaisa Kacisolomone, handed down the sentence this afternoon following a trial of more than a year for the uprising which left eight soldiers dead.

The 14 other soldiers convicted with Stevens last year were given jail sentences ranging from 10 months to ten years.

The mutiny by members of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit was aimed at assassinating the head of the armed forces, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, and freeing the coup frontman, George Speight, who is serving a life term for treason for his role in the May 2000 coup.

On Wednesday, the mutineers apologised for what they had done and Captain Stevens sought forgiveness from the families of those who were killed as well as from the army commander and other ranks of the military.