15 Jul 2005

Fiji PM says Reconciliation Bill's amnesty clause is not negotiable

10:18 am on 15 July 2005

Fiji's prime minister says the amnesty clause for coup convicts in his government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill is not likely to be changed.

Laisenia Qarase has told Radio Legend that the amnesty clause is one of the key components of the Bill.

Mr Qarase says amendments to the Bill will be considered, but the granting of amnesty has to stay.

He says although there have been calls for the removal of the amnesty provisions in submissions, there've been no such suggestions in meetings of the indigenous Fijian provincial councils.

But the opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the Bill is meant to get those members of the two governing parties who have been sentenced for their criminal actions during the coup out of prison and wipe out their criminal records.

As well, Mr Chaudhry says the Bill is meant to stop serious coup cases which are proceeding against members of the government and to stop any further investigations which are under way by the police and the director of public prosecutions.