28 Jan 2006

Fiji high court orders military to produce coup documents

8:14 am on 28 January 2006

A Suva High Court judge has ordered the Fiji military to produce documents in his chambers which will show who was involved in plotting the May 2000 coup.

Radio reports say Justice Gerard Winter issued the order following an application by the coup front man, George Speight, and his fellow treason convict, Timoci Silatolu.

They want the documents to prepare their defence in a multi-million dollar damages claim filed by the deposed prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and members of his government who were held hostage for 56 days.

The application was strongly opposed by the military and the home affairs ministry on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the public interest.

They claimed this was because the documents disclose comprehensive details of the involvement of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit in the crisis of 2000 and, in the wrong hands, could have an adverse effect on national security and stability.

But Justice Winter said it was important that the documents were produced to him to read first before he makes a ruling on whether they should be released to Speight and Silatolu.