28 Jun 2004

Fiji military join police security operation in Suva

10:28 am on 28 June 2004

Fiji's military will back up police as security is tightened around the Suva courts for the trial of the country's vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, which begins today.

The police spokesman, Mesake Koroi, says officers of the newly established Tactical Response Unit and soldiers have been briefed on the procedures to be followed for the two-week trial.

A military bomb disposal squad will make twice daily sweeps of the courts for explosives.

Extra protection will be provided for Justice Nazhat Shameem, who will preside over the trial, as well as state prosecutors and witnesses.

Ratu Jope is facing a charge of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise for purporting to become Speight's usurper president while the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was still in office.

Also facing trial on the same charges will be the deputy Speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila, and three other men for being sworn in as ministers in Speight's failed administration.