30 Apr 2005

Fiji ruling coalition reportedly split on bill to free coup convicts

6:52 am on 30 April 2005

Fiji's ruling coalition is reported to be split over proposed legislation to free all coup convicts and end all coup investigations.

The Fiji Sun reports that the junior partner in the government, the pro-coup Conservative Alliance, confirmed last night that it's drafting such legislation - to be known as the Reconciliation Bill.

The party's president, Ratu Tanoa Visowaqa, says the purpose of the Bill would be to bring about unity and reconciliation in the country after the 2000 coup.

He says the Bill would stop all court cases and investigations of those involved in the coup.

Ratu Tanoa says the Bill would not be referred to parliament's sector committee on legal issues because the government would like it passed as soon as possible.

But the Sun says when asked last night, the prime minister Laisenia Qarase said 'no', before hanging up, while the SDL's national director Jale Baba switched off his phone.