21 Jan 2005

Third coup prisoner applies for early release

8:25 am on 21 January 2005

Another Fiji coup convict jailed for taking an oath to become a minister in George Speight's administration has applied for an early release.

He is Ratu Viliame Volavola, who was jailed for three years last August.

Volavola's wife has told Radio Legend that her husband has sent a letter asking for his early release under a Compulsory Supervision Order.

The minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, who's responsible for making the decisions on such releases, says he's yet to receive Volavola's application.

Mr Bale released the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, last November after just three months of his four-year sentence.

Radio Legend reports another man jailed for a similar offence, Peceli Rinakama, is expected to apply to be released on a Compulsory Supervision Order later this year.

Radio Legend says this has been confirmed by Rinakama's son, who says his father will apply after he's completed one third of his three-year sentence.

And the commissioner of prisons has released the nationalist Viliame Savu, this month after just five months, to serve the balance of his one-year sentence as an extra-mural prisoner.

The only convict from this group who hasn't yet applied for early release is the former deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure, who's serving a six-year term.

He's expected to push ahead with an appeal against his conviction, which is expected to be heard in July this year.