16 May 2005

Coup front man would be given priority for amnesty under proposed Reconciliation Commission

7:08 am on 16 May 2005

The Fiji coup front man, George Speight, and others jailed for coup related offences will be given priority for amnesty by the Qarase government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission.

Also eligible for priority amnesty will be his fellow coup accomplices, Timoci Silatolu and Josefa Nata, the former deputy speaker of parliament Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure and the former minister for lands, Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure.

Government senators Ratu Josefa Dimuri and Ratu Inoke Takiveitaka as well as the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, will also be able to apply for priority amnesty.

The contents of the government bill show that those applying for amnesty will have to convince the Reconciliation and Unity Commission that their offences were politically motivated and not criminal in intent.

Those granted amnesty by the president on the recommendation of the commission will be released from prison.

Those who have already served their sentence will have their convictions erased from the criminal records and those not yet prosecuted will be given immunity from prosecution.

At the weekend, the minister for lands. Samisoni Tikonisau, revealed that his brother, George Speight, is delighted with the government Bill which will be tabled in parliament this week.