3 Mar 2004

Former PNG Defence Force commander cleared of sedition charges

10:07 am on 3 March 2004

The former commander of Papua New Guinea's defence forces, Jerry Singirok has been acquitted of sedition charges related to the 1997 Sandline crisis.

The charges stemmed from a March 1997 radio broadcast in which Singirok called on then-prime minister Julius Chan and members of his cabinet to resign within 48 hours.

The military revolted against the PNG government to force the expulsion of mercenaries hired to quell a rebellion on the PNG island of Bougainville.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 lives were lost during the war on Bougainville from 1989 to 1998.

After his acquittal Singirok said he had been made a scapegoat for the affair.

He said he believed that others responsible for plotting and planning the episode had never been charged or pursued