5 Aug 2003

Fiji magistrate questions sedition sentence

6:34 am on 5 August 2003

A Fiji magistrate has questioned the leniency of the legal sentence for a man who had plans to blow up key institutions and infrastructure and seize the government.

The Fiji Times says Salesi Temo raised the issue when a former soldier, Sergeant Niumati Cati, admitted in court that he had seditious documents.

The documents, seized in January last year, were in the form of operational orders to take over the government, and blow up the Reserve Bank Building as well as the Rewa, Sigatoka and Ba bridges.

Other documents in Cati's possession included plans to place all senior military officers and senior government officials under arrest, remove executive authority from the president, impose martial law, cut off telecommunications and take over the electricity supply.

The court was told that Cati admitted being the author of the documents while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

Magistrate Temo said he found it strange that such serious offending carried a sentence of only 12 months in jail or a fine of 50 US dollars.

He deferred sentencing to consider the matter further.