19 Feb 2004

Fiji Labour Party leader calls for surveillance of released coup convicts

8:35 am on 19 February 2004

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, whose government was overthrown by the three coup convicts released yesterday, wants the men kept under surveillance.

His comments come after the leader of George Speight's gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi, speaking on behalf of the three, said they had no regrets over their actions during the coup which, he said, they had carried out as their duty to the nation.

But Mr Chaudhry, who along with his government, was held hostage by the group for 56 days, is quoted as saying they should be kept under surveillance and dealt with promptly if they incite any further instability.

Mr Chaudhry says no one who brought the nation to its knees and held it to ransom deserved any sympathy.

He says theirs was a mistaken belief which caused great pain and suffering to the entire nation and the saddest victims of the coup were indigenous Fijians for whose sake they broke the law.

Mr Chaudhry says those yet to be dealt with for coup related offences should be brought to justice swiftly.