24 Jul 2004

Court martial of 61 Fiji soldiers delayed

8:54 am on 24 July 2004

The court martial of a group of 61 Fiji soldiers charged with serious coup-related offences has been delayed because some of them did not have legal representation.

The soldiers are charged with mutiny, wrongful confinement of the Chaudhry government, and misprision of treason, for knowing the coup would take place but failing to inform the authorities.

The Fiji Sun reports that some defence lawyers tried to object, to letting a panel of military officers hear the court martial, saying the accused soldiers came under the authority of the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

The prosecution described the move as an abuse of process, scandalous, and aimed at causing prejudice and embarrassment.

The president of the court martial, Colonel Iliesa Kacisolomone, has adjourned the trial until September 7th.