24 Aug 2004

Fiji mercy commission not due to hear Seniloli case yet

4:20 pm on 24 August 2004

Fiji's prerogative of mercy commission will not meet in the near future to discuss a pardon for jailed vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

The chairman of the commission and attorney general explained this in a ministerial statement in the Senate today after the Appeal Court's rejection of Seniloli's bail application.

Qoriniasi Bale said the commission will not deal with any application for a pardon by any serving prisoner until all legal procedures for appeal have been exhausted.

Mr Bale said they do not have an application for a pardon from Seniloli, the deputy speaker of parliament Vakalalabure and three others.

Seniloli and Vakalalabure continue to hold office as vice president and deputy Speaker from their prison cell and enjoy their official salaries and perks of office.

The attorney general also attacked the Fiji media and some individuals for using the Seniloli court ruling to their advantage.

Mr Bale said many people have been affected by the ruling including the relatives and the "vanua" or clans of the people jailed.

But Labour Party senator Atu Emberson-Bain said the attorney general was trying to influence the court proceedings under the guise of a ministerial statement.