18 Feb 2003

Three of 11 Fiji men in jail for 2000 coup to be freed today

11:28 am on 18 February 2003

Three of the eleven men serving prison sentences in Fiji for their role in the May 2000 coup will be released today.

Radio Fiji says the three are the president of the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavu Party, Iliesa Duvuloco, Samu Konataci and Maciu Lavakasusua.

Duvuloco is currently appearing in the Suva High Court as a defence witness in the treason trial of the coup accomplices, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu.

The three are being released after serving 12 months of their 18-month sentences.

Under Fiji law prisoners are automatically given a remission of one third of their sentences for good behaviour.

Meanwhile, nine other prisoners serving sentences for their part in the coup have applied to be released early to serve their terms from home under compulsory supervision orders.

The coup front man, George Speight, is serving a life term but the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party, which is a partner in the current SDL-led government, is planning to seek a pardon for him through parliament.