22 Nov 2005

Fiji treason convict applies for presidential pardon

10:26 am on 22 November 2005

A Fiji coup convict serving a life sentence for treason, Ratu Timoci Silatolu, has applied for a presidential pardon.

Fiji TV reports that the president's official secretary, Rupeni Nacewa, has confirmed receiving the pardon application which has been referred to the solicitor general's office.

The report says that by law the application should have been sent to the Prerogative of Mercy Commission chaired by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

Mr Bale has indicated that Silatolu's application may not be granted, because in sentencing him to life, the judge had stipulated a minimum term, which Silatolu hasn't yet completed.

Silatolu's application for a pardon follows the decision of the authorities to reject his application to be released under a Compulsory Supervision Order, similar to the ones granted to the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, and government senator Mohammed Apisai Tora.

During his treason trial, evidence was given that Silatolu, who was a member of the Chaudhry government, gave the final signal by mobile phone for gunmen, led by Ilisoni Ligairi, to stage the coup and seize parliament.