11 Aug 2003

Fiji soldier jailed for six months for possession of seditious documents

9:43 am on 11 August 2003

A former Fiji soldier who had detailed plans to blow up key installations and infrastructure and seize the government has been sentenced to six months in jail.

The Fiji Times reports that Sergeant Niumati Cati had pleaded guilty to having seditious documents in his possession.

The documents, seized in January last year, were in the form of operational orders to take over the government and blow up the Reserve Bank Building as well as the Rewa, Sigatoka and Ba bridges.

Other documents included plans to place all senior military officers and senior government officials under arrest, remove executive authority from the president, impose martial law, cut off telecommunications and take over the electricity supply.

In sentencing Cati, magistrate Salesi Temo said he founf it unthinkable and extreme disloyalty that a soldier should have such a document in his possession.

Mr Temo expressed concern that the maximum penalty for the offence was only a year in jail, but he gave Cati six months off for pleading guilty and for his good record in peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.