22 Sep 2003

Moves continue in Fiji to free Speight from life in jail for treason

4:25 pm on 22 September 2003

Efforts are continuing in Fiji to secure the release from prison of coup frontman, George Speight.

His brother, Samisoni Tikonisau, who is also an MP in the government's minor coalition party, says various options are being pursued.

Mr Tikonisau says he's been told by a government source that a proposed parole board could result in an early release for Speight or they could apply for a pardon or home release under a compulsory supervision order.

"It's progressing very well actually and all I can say as I've said before that we are happy with our efforts to date and it is there due to the sensitivity of the issue politically our efforts are pretty much alive and hopefully that we will achieve our objective of seeking George's release."

Samisoni Tikonisau.

Speight was sentenced to death for treason but his sentence was commuted to life in jail.

Fiji's military is considering a formal protest to cabinet over its approval for the setting up of a parole board.

A military spokesman, warrant officer Neumi Leweni, says there are concerns that it could approve Speight's early release from Nukualu.

Mr Leweni says this could undermine the proper maintenance of law and order.

The military is looking at it and we will see in whatever way we can put in our letter to government we are actually looking at whether there will be a need to do so or not.

A Fiji military spokesman, Neumi Leweni.