19 Jan 2005

Former Fiji prime minister says coup convicts should serve their full sentences

11:17 am on 19 January 2005

Fiji's former prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, says coup convicts should serve their full jail sentences for a strong political grounding in the future.

Mr Rabuka has told Radio Legend this should be the case with the May 2000 coup front man, George Speight.

Mr Rabuka says it is pointless to try and get an early release for Speight as planned by the government's junior partner, the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party.

Mr Rabuka says the Conservative Alliance should respect Speight's wish to serve out his full term.

He says coup prisoners who serve their full sentences would have a much stronger ground to stand on when they come out than those like himself who were involved in the 1987 coups.

Mr Rabuka says these people can then show to their people that they believed in what they did, they have faced the consequences and are then free to push on with their aspirations.

Speight was earlier reported to have told his brother and government MP, Samisoni Tikonisau, that he wanted petitions for his early release stopped so he could serve his full term.