23 Jan 2013

Disgruntled former British soldier of Fiji origin returns bravery medals

1:17 pm on 23 January 2013

A former British soldier, from Fiji, is handing back medals he won in the line of duty, saying they have become meaningless.

The Fiji Times says Isimeli Baleiwai received five medals for bravery while on tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq.

Upon leaving the army, he was threatened with deportation because an incident with a fellow soldier left him with a criminal conviction, but it was later ruled he acted in self defence, and he was granted British citizenship.

In a letter to Prince Charles explaining his decision, Mr Baleiwai says to be told he was not of good character to remain in Britain was one of the saddest days of his life.

He says he received the medals with honour and with great sadness they have now become meaningless.

Mr Baleiwai says his family has been left facing bankruptcy and homelessness, and his service has been dishonoured.