21 Jun 2004

Tight security planned for Fiji top leaders' trial

3:13 pm on 21 June 2004

Stringent security measures will be put in place around the court house in the Fiji capital from Friday when the coup-related trials of six prominent people begins.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, has told the Daily Post that security will be very tight and the presiding judge, Justice Nazhat Shameem, witnesses and the state prosecutors would be under guard.

Facing trial will be the Fiji's vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli; the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure; the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila; and three others.

Ratu Jope purported to become the usurper president after Speight's coup while the incumbent, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was still in office.

The other five were sworn in as ministers in Speight's failed administration.

They have been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The very stringent security measures follow last Friday's rumours of civil unrest which swept the country resulting in armed officers from the Police Tactical Response unit surrounding the parliament to prevent MPs being taken hostage.