8 Jul 2004

Soldiers allegedly involved in Fiji coup of 2000 to be formally charged next week

3:38 pm on 8 July 2004

The trial of soldiers in Fiji who helped George Speight carry out the May 2000 coup looks set to go ahead soon.

A legal source in the military, who did not wish to be named, says 61 soldiers have been charged with treason.

He says they will appear in court again next Wednesday, when formal charges will be put to them.

Some of them are already in jail for their role in the November 2000 mutiny, which aimed to assassinate Commodore Bainimarama and free Speight.

They include Major Apiata Waqaniboro, Lt Serupepeli Dakai and Sergeant Jone Naisara.

Some of the accused were members of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit, set up by Sitiveni Rabuka after his 1987 coups.

Also included are members of the engineer's unit which marched into parliament and several from the third battalion.

Meanwhile the fate of a second group of 21 soldiers court martialled for mutiny hangs in the balance.

The case continues on Tuesday, when the judge will sum up the case.

The findings are expected to be announced on Friday.