19 Mar 2003

Fiji government senator defends his role in coup

8:30 am on 19 March 2003

A Fiji provincial paramount chief and government senator has defended his role in the May 2000 coup.

Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who is banned from entering New Zealand because of his role in the coup, has told the Senate that he did his utmost and in good faith to negotiate for the release of the hostages.

The Fiji Times quotes Ratu Inoke as saying he is not ashamed of anything.

He said New Zealand's recent refusal of a visa to him and another former MP with a rugby team was a simple case of a sovereign nation acting under its own immigration policies and guidelines to refuse to grant a visa to certain individuals to enter their domain.

He said it should not and must not be politicised by the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, who had described it as a shame for him and his people.

Ratu Inoke is also facing a charge of conspiracy in relation to the November 2000 army mutiny which claimed eight lives.