18 Feb 2004

Labour hopes freed coup convicts have learned their lesson

4:34 pm on 18 February 2004

The Labour party says it hopes the three men released from jail today after serving sentences for their part in the 2000 coup, have learned their lesson.

They are the retired army officer, Ilisoni Ligairi, who led the soldiers in storming parliament, the coup leader George Speight's brother, Jim Speight, and the former police commissioner's brother, Major Josefa Savua.

Radio Fiji quotes a Labour spokesperson, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi as saying the men will have acknowledged the crimes they committed during the coup and should now live peacefully.

But Mr Ligairi, who took part in the 1987 Rabuka coup as well, says he still stands by the principles which led him to overthrow the Labour coalition government in 2000.


The coup leader George Speight is the last prisoner remaining on Nukulau island.

Another brother of Speight's, MP Samisoni Tikonisau, says today's release will help the campaign to have George freed.

"George made it very clear to me that he wanted his colleagues released first, so we have accomplished that according to his wishes,....with regard to his case, negotiations are proceeding and we are pretty optimistic we will come to some resolution before the end of this parliamentary term"