2 Jun 2005

Fiji TV reports military warning government on amnesty law

6:15 am on 2 June 2005

Fiji's military has warned the government not to take its opposition to the Reconciliation Bill lightly.

The draft law allows for the granting of amnesties to those who carried out or supported the 2000 coup.

The warning comes just ahead of today's second reading of the Bill by the prime minister during which the military will be present in numbers to show its concern.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has told Fiji TV they don't agree with the Bill, in particular its amnesty provisions to free coup and mutiny convicts currently serving jail sentences.

Captain Leweni says the presence of the military officers in parliament is aimed at demonstrating that they are serious about the Bill and not playing games.

But the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, the formerly disbarred lawyer who drafted the Bill, says the military presence is stupid and he's not intimidated.

Mr Bale says the public service commission and the home affairs ministry should investigate the military.

Meanwhile, the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, will meet the minister for home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, today to raise their concerns.