27 Jan 2006

Three Fiji coup convicts apply for early release

9:12 am on 27 January 2006

Three high-profile Fiji coup convicts have applied to be released early under Compulsory Supervision Orders.

Fiji TV reports that the three are the former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Col Metuisela Mua, the former army and Native Lands Trust Board lawyer, Tevita Bukarau, and nationalist politician, Eroni Lewaqai.

Their application for early release follows the High Court rejection of their appeal against conviction and sentence by the Suva magistrate's court.

They were convicted and jailed in July last year for consorting with people carrying firearms and illegal assembly in parliament during the Speight coup.

The attorney general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, has confirmed receiving their applications and is awaiting the recommendation of the commissioner of prisons.

Mr Bale says so long as he exercises his powers properly and his conscience is clear, he would not worry about criticism.

Mua, Bukarau and Lewaqai would normally be due for release in 2007.