21 Jun 2005

Nine more jailed Fiji soldiers win early release to serve sentence extramurally

3:29 pm on 21 June 2005

Prison authorities in Fiji have released another nine soldiers court-martialled and jailed for their role in Labasa army mutiny during the coup, to serve their sentences as extra-mural prisoners.

The deputy commissioner of prisons, Opeti Laladidi, has told the Daily Post he expects more applications for extra-mural release from soldiers jailed for coup and mutiny related offences.

Mr Laladidi has also said two Vanua Levu chiefs jailed for their role in the Labasa mutiny have applied for early release under Compulsory Supervision Orders.

The Tui Nadogo, Ratu Viliame Rovabokola, and the Tui Wailevu, Ratu Rokodewala Niumataiwalu, were jailed at the same time as the former minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, and government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri.

But while the government MPs were released only 11 days later as extramural prisoners, the other two chiefs did not qualify for extramural release for health reasons because they could not carry out community work.

The Post says they are likely to be released under Compulsory Supervision Orders similar to the one granted to the jailed former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Mr Laladidi says prisoners have the right to apply for early release if they believe they meet the criteria.