28 May 2004

Fiji opposition opposes early Speight release

1:18 pm on 28 May 2004

Fiji's opposition leader has strongly opposed moves to seek the early release of the coup front man, George Speight, who is serving a life sentence.

Mick Beddoes has told the Fiji Sun that Speight needs to serve at least ninety per cent of his sentence before any early release is considered.

Mr Beddoes says Speight knew what he was doing when he staged the coup, understood that its economic impact was in the hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of people lost their jobs.

He says people are still trying to recover from the pain inflicted on their lives and Speight's supporters should be grateful that his sentence of death for treason was immediately commuted to life in prison.

Mr Beddoes says he would be willing to reconsider his stand if Speight helps in the coup investigations and names the real culprits behind the government overthrow.

The move to seek an early release for Speight is spearheaded by his brother and government MP, Samisoni Tikonisau.