16 May 2005

Fiji Labour Party says RUC open line to terrorism

5:38 pm on 16 May 2005

The Fiji Labour Party says the Qarase government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity Bill is an open line to terrorism and the party will mount a very vigorous campaign to oppose it.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has told Radio Legend the Bill violates the international convention on terrorism, and it will lobby against it both internationally and locally.

The Bill will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records and give immunity to those not yet prosecuted.

Mr Chaudhry says the most disturbing aspect of the Bill is that seeks to grant amnesty to those convicted of the most serious of all crimes - that of treason.

He says the SDL government is being influenced by its close ties to those already sentenced and others who are on trial or about to be prosecuted for coup related offences.

He says it is nonsense for anyone to claim that coup related crimes were politically motivated and should be treated differently from crimes committed under the Penal Code.

Mr Chaudhry says anyone who has in any way committed treason, or aided and abetted in the overthrow of a democratically elected government, should face the full brunt of the law.