11 Dec 2002

Fiji police say nationalist witheld prior knowledge of May 2000 coup

11:43 am on 11 December 2002

State prosecutors in Fiji have told the Suva High Court that they have proven beyond doubt that Fiji nationalist, Viliame Savu had prior knowledge of the May 2000 coup but did not inform the authorities.

The Daily Post reports that Savu is charged with misprision of treason.

Prosecutor Bhupendra Solanki told Justice Anthony Gates that state witness Jone Vidi who was present at two meetings on May 9th and 18th 2000 had given credible evidence of who was present on those occassions.

Mr Solanki said Savu had admitted knowing the coup would occur in his police statement and said he did not inform the authorities because indigenous Fijians did not like the Chaudhry government.

But Savu's lawyer and former attorney general, Apaitia Seru, said the case had not been proven because it had not been corroborated independently.

Mr Seru said two defence witnesses, both of whom are serving prison sentences on Nuklulau Island for their role in the coup, had testified Savu was not present.

Justice Gates will sum up the case today.