18 Feb 2004

Fiji political party seeks permit to welcome three coup convicts being released today

8:15 am on 18 February 2004

The junior partner in Fiji's coalition government, the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party has questioned the need for a permit to hold a traditional welcome for three coup convicts who are being released today.

The three are the leader of George Speight's gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi, Speight's brother and Australian national, Jim Speight, and the former police commissioner's brother, Major Josefa Savua.

Speight's elder brother, government MP Samisoni Tikonisau, has told the Fiji Sun newspaper that because it would be a simple ceremony, the need for a permit was not warranted.

Mr Tikonisau says Conservative Alliance executives are handling the permit application which was lodged with the District Officer, Suva.

He says the events planned are a traditional Fijian protocol ceremony to welcome people who have been away a long time and a church service in a Suva hall.