1 Mar 2005

Convicted Fiji soldiers appeal against sentences

7:27 am on 1 March 2005

20 Fiji soldiers jailed for their role in the May 2000 coup and the mutiny, the following November, are appealing against their conviction and sentences.

The 20 have gone to the Fiji Court of Appeal and challenged the legality of their court martial.

Radio Fiji reports that the Legal Aid Commission, which is representing the soldiers, is arguing that the court martial which heard their trial was not an independent or impartial tribunal.

Their application states that the president of the court martial was a retired military officer when he should have been a serving military officer.

As well, the soldiers are arguing that the tribunal comprised of commissioned officers only instead of non-commissioned officers and they did not get a fair trial.

The Fiji Court of Appeal will hear the case tomorrow.