22 Mar 2003

Fiji president reported to have reviewed setences of convicted mutineers

9:02 am on 22 March 2003

Fiji's attorney general, Qorinaisi Bale, has admitted that President Iloilo has reviewed the jail sentences of of more than 50 soldiers convicted of mutiny by court martial.

Mr Bale has told Radio Fiji that the request for the review came from the military and is within the legal authority of the president.

But Mr Bale has denied that the government ordered the military to stop all coup and mutiny investigations.

The order was reported to have been given to the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, through the president who is commander in chief of the military.

Mr Bale says neither the government nor the president has given any directive to anyone, including the military, to stop investigations into the coup or the mutunies that followed.

Commodore Bainimarama reportedly objected to the decisions of the president but Mr Bale says he is not privy to the feelings of the commander.