16 Feb 2005

Mutiny convict commits suicide in Fiji

8:40 pm on 16 February 2005

A former Fiji soldier serving a 4-year jail sentence for his role in the November 2000 army mutiny has committed suicide in his cell in Suva Prison.

Radio Fiji reports police have confirmed that 37-year old Private Iliesa Liganivai hanged himself in his cell some time on Tuesday night.

Prison guards found his body at 6 o'clock the next morning.

The dead soldier was to appear before a court martial again on Thursday to stand a further trial for providing military support to George Speight during the coup when the Chaudhry government was taken captive and held hostage.

During an earlier court martial appearance, Private Loganivai had questioned the right of the military panel to try him because he said he was a senior officer from another planet.

The court martial had ordered a psychiatric report.

The soldier had been a member of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit which carried out the May 2000 coup and the army mutiny the following November which claimed eight lives.

The unit was set up by Sitiveni Rabuka after his 1987 military coups and initially led by the leader of Speight's gunmen and former British SAS officer, Ilisoni Ligairi.