8 Nov 2007

Fiji's alleged assassination plotters refused bail

7:29 pm on 8 November 2007

The 11 men held in currently in Fiji on charges of inciting mutiny and conspiracy to murder key government figures have been denied bail.

Suva magistrate John Semisi ordered the men to be kept in custody until the 22nd of November.

Radio Legend reports that Mr Semisi will reveal his reasons for denying bail to the accused in a special court sitting on Monday as tomorrow is a public holiday in Fiji.

Earlier, the director of public prosecutions had strongly objected to bail.

Prosecutor Wilisoni Kurisaqila filed affidavits from the deputy army commander, Col Samuela Saumatua, and superintendent of police, Tevita Lesu, to oppose bail.

In his affidavit, Col Saumatua said that the 11 accused have been identified as credible threats and pose a high level of threat to national security.

Superintendent Lesu said in his affidavit that due the seriousness of the offence, disclosures of evidence could not be made at this time as they could jeopardize investigations.

Both Col Saumatua and SP Lesu said that if released, the accused could try and execute the assassination plan and accomplish their mission.

The men have been charged with one count of inciting mutiny and five counts each of conspiracy to assassinate the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, two interim ministers and two senior military officers.

Those being held in custody include the Naitasiri paramount chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, his brother-in-law and former army officer, Col Jone Baledrokadroka, and the former Fiji Intelligence Service director, Col Metuisela Mua.

Also under arrest for the same offences are former MP Peceli Rinakama and a group of former special forces soldiers some of whom had also taken part in the George Speight coup and November 2000 mutiny.