5 May 2005

Fij mutiny soldiers released early now number 13

2:16 pm on 5 May 2005

The number of Fiji soldiers sentenced to jail for mutiny during the coup but now known to have been released early to serve their sentences extramurally has risen to 13.

Radio Legend reports that nine of the soldiers jailed for their role in the Labasa mutiny have been released.

Another four had been in jail for their role in the Suva mutiny which was aimed at assassinating the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and claimed eight lives.

The radio station has named all 13 given early releases after their jailing by two separate military courts martial.

It says those released were serving three-year sentences or less and under the Prisons Act their sentences were reduced by one third for good behaviour.

They were in prison for about a year before qualifying for release as extramural prisoners.

The commissioner of prisons, Aisea Taoka, has refused to comment on the early release of the rebel soldiers except to say that a total of 123 prisoners around Fiji are serving their sentences extramurally.

He says he does not need to explain or give more information on who has been released from prison.