12 May 2005

Sentenced Fiji Lands minister seeks more lenient terms

8:59 pm on 12 May 2005

The jailed former Fiji lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, will now seek more lenient terms of release under a Compulsory Supervision Order.

He is already an extra-mural prisoner, having been released as such in mid-April, after only 11 days of his 8-month sentence for his role in the Labasa army mutiny at the height of the coup.

Radio Legend reports that Father Iosefa Tuwere, who is Lalabalavu's supervisor for community work performed as an extra-mural prisoner, says according to medical reports Lalabalavu will soon need to go overseas for a check.

The radio says under the Prisons Act, the minister for justice, in this case Qoriniasi Bale, may at any time direct that a prisoner shall be released under a Compulsory Supervision Order as the minister thinks fit.

The release under a CSO may be on medical grounds, similar to the one Mr Bale gave to the jailed former vice president Seniloli last year.

Father Tuwere says he will be writing a support letter to Mr Bale highlighting that the former minister has been carrying out various duties under the requirements of his extra-mural sentence in accordance with his health condition.

Father Tuwere says the former minister should be allowed to travel abroad for a medical review.