13 Aug 2004

Fiji commission discusses giving mercy to jailed vice president

7:17 am on 13 August 2004

Fiji's Prerogative of Mercy Commission has met to discuss the four-year prison sentence imposed on vice president Seniloli.

Radio Fiji says the meeting in Suva yesterday afternoon has been confirmed by the commission chairman and attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

Earlier, Mr Bale had said that the commission "only considers applications for mercy from those given life sentences and the president does not exercise the power to grant a pardon until he receives advice from the commission."

The Citizen Constitutional Forum has questioned the need for a meeting of the mercy commission when there is no life sentence on Seniloli who is serving only a four-year jail term.

The CCF's executive director, the Rev Aquila Yabaki, has also condemned a petition signed by Seniloli and Senator Adi Litia Cakobau sent to the Secretariat of the Great Council of Chiefs asking President Iloilo to quash the vice president's prison sentence.

The Reverend Yabaki says the Prerogative of Mercy Commission should only meet for cases where there's a miscarriage of justice which is not an issue in Seniloli's case.

Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says the situation is unjust and there are grounds for Raut Jope removal which are written in the constitution.

"He's unable to perform the functions of office because he's now a prisoner having been sentenced by the court to serve four years for criminal offence of administering unlawful and treasonous oaths."