18 Feb 2005

Defendants in damages claim arising from Fiji coup ask court to strike out the action

11:12 am on 18 February 2005

Jailed Fiji treason convict, Timoci Silatolu, has applied to the High Court to strike out a multi-million dollar compensation claim for damages filed against him and fellow convict George Speight.

The claim has been filed by members of the Labour Party coalition government they deposed and held hostage at gunpoint for 56 days.

A Fiji TV report says Silatolu is claiming that the law is limited in accepting compensation claims for injuries and other claims for damages.

Silatolu claims the period in which the claim should have been filed has expired.

The High Court has yet to give a ruling on this issue.

Also named as defendants in the Labour members' claim are the attorney general, the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and the former police commissioner, Col Isikia Savua.

In the four years and 9 months since the coup, six of the people held hostage during the coup who were claiming damages have died.

The plaintiffs are claiming for the loss of their salaries and entitlements for the balance of the term of their government.

They are also claiming unspecified damages at the discretion of the High Court for their wrongful imprisonment, beatings, trauma, threats against their lives and breach of human rights.