16 Aug 2004

Fiji Labour Party alarmed at proposed pardoning of jailed vice-president

3:43 pm on 16 August 2004

The Fiji Labour Party has expressed alarm at the prospect of jailed vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, being pardoned while his appeal process is still under way.

Labour president Jokapeci Koroi says the fact that the prerogative of mercy commission has already met to consider Seniloli's pardon is "interference with the administration of justice and the rule of law."

Mrs Koroi says the commission was set up to consider applications for clemency only from those serving life sentences.

She says it is inappropriate for someone serving only a four-year sentence in which the High Court has already taken into account his personal circumstances.

Mrs Koroi says it is clear from the fast footwork of the decision makers that a pardon is being considered out of political expedience.

The Labour Party president says the prime minister Laisenia Qarase's call on the people to respect Seniloli's application for a pardon sends out "a destructive message, actively fosters instability, and is tantamount to encouraging agitation."