5 Mar 2010

Sentence for Bainimarama murder plotters seen as tragic

7:14 pm on 5 March 2010

A man the Fiji judiciary suspects was behind a plot to kill the country's interim prime minister says the sentences handed down for the crime highlight how corrupt the judiciary has become.

All eight men found guilty of plotting to kill Commodore Frank Bainimarama have been given jail terms during sentencing in the High Court in Suva.

The highest sentence of seven years was given to Naitasiri high chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, and Sivaniolo Naulago.

A New Zealand businessman, Ballu Khan, who was arrested with the eight in 2007, but was granted a permanent stay a year later, says the sentence is tragic because they never committed the crime.

"We know this crime was committed by the military. The criminality belongs to the military not to these people, none of them should be going to jail, they should never be tried in the first place, the military should have been in the dock and been charged. This is another sad day in the chapter of Fiji's recent history."