13 Aug 2007

Tongan riot ringleader gets seven-year jail sentence

11:32 am on 13 August 2007

Tonga's chief justice, Anthony Ford, has sentenced a 30-year old man, Ma'ake Kali, to seven years in jail for his role in last November's riots that destroyed much of the centre of the capital, Nuku'alofa.

The Matangitonga website says the sentence is the first to be handed down in relation to the riots.

Last month, a jury found Kali guilty of being the ringleader of a crowd of more than 200 who destroyed the Chinese-owned Rainbow Store on November the 16th.

In sentencing Kali, the chief justice said that rioters wouldn't be tolerated and punished accordingly.

Matangitonga says in 2001, Kali was given a four-year jail term for trafficking drugs.

A state of emergency on the island of Tongatapu, which has been extended eight times, is due to expire later this week.