24 Aug 2004

Fiji's Lands Minister and three others face mutiny related charges next week

6:35 am on 24 August 2004

Fiji's lands minister and leader of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, will appear in court again next week on charges related to the Labasa army mutiny.

Also in court will be the party's general secretary and government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, and two other Vanua Levu chiefs.

Radio Legend quotes the state prosecutor, Joe Rabuku, as saying they expect to close the case as soon as all the witnesses have given their evidence.

All four have been charged with unlawful assembly during the seizure of the Sukanaivalu* Barracks by mutineers at the height of the coup.

The order for the mutiny was issued from parliament by the leader of George Speight's gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi, as members of the Chaudhry government were held hostage at gunpoint.