27 Sep 2005

Fiji senator Tora jailed for 8 months

12:31 pm on 27 September 2005

The Fiji government senator, Mohammed Apisai Tora, has been jailed for eight months for the coup related conviction of illegal assembly.

The conviction relates to Tora and 12 villagers from Sabeto seizing a military checkpoint and setting up a roadblock near Nadi International Airport to demand that Ratu Josefa Iloilo be appointed the president after Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara had been deposed.

Radio Legend reports that the 12 other villagers, including a woman, who followed Tora's instructions have been jailed for four months each.

Passing sentence, Lautoka High Court judge Justice John Connors said a suspended sentence and fine was not appropriate for the crime committed by the 13 and a custodial sentence must be imposed.

Justice Connors also told Tora that since he was a traditional leader he should be setting a good example to the community but he behaved otherwise in July 2000 and should be held accountable for his actions.

In prison, Tora has joined fellow government senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who is serving a life term for inciting the November 2000 mutiny.

Takiveikata still holds his senate seat and continues to be paid his parliamentary salary although he has been behind bars since November last year.