13 May 2009

Fiji regime finally admits soldiers and policeman on manslaughter charges freed

3:49 pm on 13 May 2009

The Fiji government has finally admitted that eight soldiers and a police officer convicted of the manslaughter of a Fiji teenager have been released from prison.

The nine men were sentenced in March to four years in prison for the manslaughter of 19 year-old Sakiusa Rabaka in 2007.

Their early release was confirmed to Radio New Zealand International a week ago by their lawyer and the Prosecutions Office in Lautoka.

But after earlier refusing all requests for comment, the government has now confirmed they were recently released under a compulsory supervision order.

The Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni says this is provided for by law as the Prisons Act stipulates that the Prisons and Corrections Minister can on the advice of the Commissioner of Prisons, use his discretion to release a prisoner under a CSO.

He says consideration is given to an inmate's behaviour, and reports from welfare officers and community organisations, when deciding whether to approve applications for release.