27 Aug 2004

Fiji vice-president won't join Speight's island jail

8:41 am on 27 August 2004

Fiji's vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, won't join the coup front man, George Speight, on Nukulau Island prison, because of a potential threat to national security.

The Daily Post quotes the commissioner of prisons, Aisea Taoka, as saying, they can't put Seniloli - and the other four jailed with him - alongside Speight and rebel soldiers on Nukulau - because of security reasons.

The five men were jailed three weeks ago for their part in the coup; Seniloli for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president; and the four others for taking an illegal oath to become purported ministers in Speight's failed administration.

Mr Taoka says the five prisoners aren't being given any special treatment - but the other prisoners are treating Seniloli with respect because of his chiefly status.

Seniloli's relatives have told the Prime Minister's Office that he's refused special meals taken for him and is happy to eat normal prison food and wear prison uniforms.

In an editorial today, the Fiji Sun says "the calmness with which Seniloli has accepted his fate puts to shame those who have sought to use his imprisonment as an excuse to incite racial unrest."