6 Jul 2004

Fiji military rapped for trying to bring back controversial army man

10:48 am on 6 July 2004

The lawyer for the controversial Fiji army officer, Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini, says it would be stupid of the military to arrest and bring his client back home.

The Daily Post reports that Samuela Matawalu made the comment after the military said the officer would be charged with desertion, or for being absent without official leave, as soon as he sets foot in Fiji.

Lt Col Tarakinikini is currently on secondment working for the United Nations.

Mr Matawalu says the officer is "neither coming nor going to come" to Fiji.

He says Lt Col Tarakinikini is an intelligent man and anything he wants to sort out in Fiji can be done from overseas.

Mr Matawalu says he's written to the commander in chief of the military, President Iloilo, to defer making a decision on his client's attempted resignation until after a proposed commission of inquiry has investigated Commodore Bainimarama.

Lt Col Tarakinikini is wanted in Fiji to answer allegations about his alleged involvement in the army mutiny in November 2000 which was aimed at assassinating Commodore Bainimarama and freeing George Speight.