30 Jun 2003

Fiji's opposition leader wants mandatory "life without parole" for all treason convicts

5:41 am on 30 June 2003

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says a life sentence without parole should be mandatory for all those who commit treason.

Mr Beddoes made the comment after treason convicts, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu, were sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the May 2000 coup.

Justice Andrew Wilson said Silatolu must serve at least nine years and Nata at least seven in addition to the three years they have already been in custody.

Justice Wilson said Fiji had experienced too many coups and such insurrections against parliamentary democracy must stop and the rule of law be upheld.

Mr Beddoes says he had hoped Nata and Silatolu would receive mandatory life sentences of 15 to 20 years.

He says people cannot destroy the life of all citizens, cause them untold hardship, drive the country almost to bankruptcy and expect to get a light sentence.