26 Feb 2007

Fiji coup convict fails in effort to seek constitutional redress

8:08 pm on 26 February 2007

The Suva High Court has dismissed an application by the 2000 coup treason convict Timoci Silatolu seeking constitutional redress for the conditions of his imprisonment.

The Fijilive news website reports that Justice Devendra Pathik has ruled Silatolu had not exhausted all available avenues before going to court to seek constitutional redress.

Silatolu had filed for constitutional redress in mid-2004 asking the High Court to declare that his rights as a detained person were being breached.

He said he was not given a specific date for his release, adding that the ambiguity in his 6- to 8-year jail term amounted to inhumane punishment.

Silatolu also alleged that he was not allowed to visit doctors or seek timely medical attention.

Justice Pathik upheld the state's application to strike out the litigation.

He said the matters brought up by Silatolu were administrative issues and not deserving of discussion as constitutional redress.

Silatolu was a member of the Chaudhry government who gave the mobile telephone signal for the May 2000 coup to take place and for his fellow MPs to be taken hostage.

He was found guilty of treason and jailed.