6 Dec 2004

Fiji military putting pressure on government to prevent further early prison releases

4:49 pm on 6 December 2004

Fiji's military says it is putting pressure on the government to prevent any further early releases of prisoners convicted of coup offences.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says they were right to describe the early release of the former vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, as a threat to national security.

He says while the military is not interested in making political statements, it does not want the precedent that has now been set, to be followed with the release of others.

"There are other political prisoners who are currently in prison, and everything will just follow on from there, and it'll be election 2006. The people would look around them and see that those people are actually back out on the streets, and then if someone else wins the election. And, then we'll probably go around in circles again."

Captain Leweni says the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has written to the Minister of Home Affairs, and had some discussions to outline their concerns on the issue.