21 May 2003

Fiji party claims George Speight's release from jail imminent

7:20 am on 21 May 2003

Fiji's Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party says the coup front man George Speight's release from life imprisonment is imminent.

Fiji TV reports that this is being claimed by Conservative Alliance and government MP, and Speight's brother, Samisoni Tikonisau.

He says all negotiations with the government on the release will remain confidential and the public does not need to know know where the talks are.

Mr Tikonisau says confidentiality must be observed because the Conservative Alliance is in coalition with the SDL government but details will be released once everything is confirmed.

He says they are doing everything within the law and people's rights, and he is optimistic of Speight's early release.

In a statement only days ago, Amnesty International criticised a campaign by government MPs to have Speight freed.

Speight pleaded guilty to a charge of treason last year and is serving a life sentence for the coup whose third anniversary was this week.