28 Jun 2005

FLP threatens legal action over Daily Post pardon story

2:13 pm on 28 June 2005

Fiji's opposition Labour Party is threatening legal action over reports that it offered a pardon to a leading coup convict in return for his joining the party

The Daily Post has reported that a Labour senator made the offer to the paramount chief of Naitasiri, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, a vice president of the ruling SDL party, who is serving a life sentence for inciting the November 2000 mutiny.

Labour's legal spokesman, Senator Anand Singh, says one of their indigenous Fijian senators, Dr Epeli Nailatikau, did visit Takiveikata, but no deal was ever discussed.

He says it was a humanitarian visit and the SDL-backed newspaper's claims are designed to belittle the party.

"The FLP is not in a position to grant a pardon, that is the prerogative of his excellency the president. So there's no way that we can be going out and making a claim that we'd grant a pardon."

Mr Singh says the claims could be part of a move to justify what Labour describes as the government's Amnesty Bill.

He says Labour expects the newspaper to publicly apologise otherwise it will consider suing the paper for defamation.