25 Sep 2003

More criticism of proposed Fiji Parole Board

10:20 am on 25 September 2003

There's been more strong criticism in Fiji of the establishment of a Parole Board which could lead to the freeing of George Speight and other coup convicts as well as soldiers sentenced for mutiny.

The NGO Coalition for Human Rights says the government is now trying to do what it failed to achieve in May when it tried to get the Office of the President to interfere in the military court martial sentencing.

The coalition says the government's proposal is contrary to the Constitution because sentences for treason and mutiny by a court martial are not subject to parole under military law.

It says only the president has the power to reduce sentences and grant parole.

The coalition says the attorney-general will be ridiculing the sentences meted out by the courts with a Parole Board.

The Sitiveni Rabuka-led Fijian Political Party, the SVT, says the move is questionable and the National Federation Party says under the present legal system, there is provision for release under a compulsory supervision order, so there is no need for a separate Parole Board.