2 Oct 2002

Fifteen Fiji soldiers still face death penalty if found guily of mutiny

10:34 am on 2 October 2002

Fifteen Fiji soldiers in the final stages of their court martial for the November 2000 mutiny will face the death penalty if found guilty.

The Fiji Sun says this follows a statement in parliament by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, that the death penalty is still in place in military law even though it hsa been removed from Fiji's Penal Code.

But Mr Bale says the president, who is also the commander in chief of the military, has the powers to reduce the death sentence to life imprisonment.

the governmenr amended the Penal code to remive the death penalty after the coup front man, George Speight, pleaded guilty to treason early this year.

His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Mr Bale says anyone found guilty of mutiny in the military will face death by firing squad.

But, he says, he would be tabling another amendment bill to remove the death penalty from military law.

The mutiny, which was aimed at assassinating the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and freeing George Speight, resulted in eight deaths and more than 30 injuries.