17 Nov 2004

Fiji attorney general to rule on Seniloli application for compulsory supervision

11:13 am on 17 November 2004

Fiji's attorney general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, will decide whether jailed vice president Seniloli will be released from Suva Prison to serve his sentence extramurally.

Mr Bale has confirmed that he received an application for a compulsory supervision order from Seniloli a month ago.

But news of the application has surfaced only now after the Fiji Court of Appeal rejected Seniloli's appeal against his conviction and four-year sentence for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president during the coup.

The commissioner of prisons, Aisea Taoka, says a prisoner wishing to be released on a compulsory supervision order has to make the application himself in person.

Mr Taoka says social welfare officers, the police and the courts would then assess the offence for which a prisoner is jailed.

He says the minister of justice, Qoriniasi Bale, would then make the final decision on the release.

Mr Bale is expected to make that decision this week.

Meanwhile, Mr Bale has rejected accusations of a conflict of interest in his position as attorney general and the minister for justice and his role, in a private capacity, as legal adviser to the Great Council of Chiefs, which appointed Seniloli and can decide on his fate.