26 Aug 2005

Fiji police probe unnamed politician in connection with temple fires

2:18 pm on 26 August 2005

Fiji police are investigating the involvement of a senior politician in a spate of arson attacks on temples and other buildings in the country's west during the May 2000 coup.

Radio Legend says the police commissioner has confirmed that the politician, who was a prominent figure in the 1987 coup, is the main person under investigation.

Mr Hughes says the politician declined to give any information when contacted by police.

But detectives are now gathering evidence to prove his involvement in the arson attacks.

Mr Hughes police are going through relevant telephone conversations between the politician and others involved.

Meanwhile, a senior police officer who locked up five of his fellow officers in the Labasa police station during the coup, has been jailed.

Labasa magistrate Sunil Kumar found Sergeant Iokimi Labati guilty of five counts of wrongful confinement and sentenced him to six months in prison.

Labati, who was in charge of the five officers on the day of the offence, locked them up to prevent them from arresting people who were looting shops in Labasa and allowed rebels to take over the police station.