18 Aug 2005

Fiji appeal ruling soldiers in military custody

10:51 am on 18 August 2005

Twenty Fiji soldiers whose conviction and sentences were set aside by the Fiji Court of Appeal have been taken into military custody.

Radio Fiji reports that the soldiers were taken from Suva Prison back to the main army camp Nabua.

This has been confirmed by the military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni.

Fiji's military is to convene a fresh court martial to retry the soldiers who had been convicted and sentenced for their role in the November 2000 mutiny.

The Fiji Court of Appeal has ordered that the 20 soldiers be retried because their first court martial was unlawful.

This was because the military commander didn't have the powers to appoint members of the court martial panel which tried and convicted the appellants as only the commander-in-chief of the military, the president, has such powers.