22 Jan 2005

Fiji attorney general admits law gives him too much power

8:26 am on 22 January 2005

Fiji's attorney general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, has admitted that the law gives him too much power to release prisoners under Compulsory Supervision Orders.

Radio Legend quotes Mr Bale as saying there's a danger that the power could be abused.

He says as a result, the cabinet has approved changes to the Prisons Act to remove the power of the minister for justice to release prisoners.

Instead, the new law, to go before parliament in June, will provide for the setting up of a Parole Board, which will decide on applications from prisoners for early release.

Mr Bale's premature release of the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli just three months into his four-year sentence for trying to usurp the presidency, has generated bitter controversy in Fiji.

Another coup convict, Viliame Savu, has been released to serve his sentence extramurally.

A third, Ratu Viliame Volavola, applied for release this week and a fourth, Peceli Rinakama, is expected to apply later this year.