27 Feb 2006

Nationalist party in Fiji says it has abandoned idea of freeing coup prisoners

7:32 am on 27 February 2006

An extreme right political party in Fiji that has merged with the ruling party claims it abandoned the idea of freeing all coup prisoners soon after the 2000 takeover.

The president of the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua made the comment after the party merged with the ruling SDL party ahead of the general elections.

Ratu Tanoa Visowaqa claims members of the CAMV - most of whom have coup-related convictions - decided back in 2002 that they couldn't flout the law.

"We had to reconsider everything, in the beginning we were all out for everything, but then we realised that there's something called the law that we had to respect, we had to follow. And through that process most of my party members, except myself, went to jail."

Ratu Tanoa says his party gave up little to join the centre-right SDL.

And he says it's taken the CAMV the past four years to convince high chiefs among others that the merger was a good thing.