10 Dec 2003

Fiji chief wants coup convicts freed

11:30 am on 10 December 2003

One of Fiji's highest chiefs has called for a stop to all investigations into the May 2000 coup.

Adi Litia Cakobau has also called for the release of George Speight and all prisoners jailed for their role in the coup.

Adi Litia, who is a senator, told the Upper House that what happened in May 2000 were political expressions.

She says to criminalise freedom of expression is to criminalise democracy.

Adi Litia says a responsible nation cannot criminalise or ignore the voices of more than half its population.

She has also described the 1997 constitution as a time bomb which must be changed before time pulls the trigger.