6 May 2009

Early release renders Fiji's Rabaka case sentence a waste, says father

9:09 pm on 6 May 2009

The father of a teenager who was killed by eight soldiers and a police officer in Fiji two years ago is dismayed at their early release from prison.

19 year-old Sakiusa Rabaka died about a month after he was detained and assaulted at the Black Rock military site in Nadi in January 2007.

The nine men were sentenced in March to four years in prison for his manslaughter and four months for assault but have now been released under a community service order.

Sakiusa Rabaka's father, Peni Rabaka, says their early release is very hard for his family.

He says the six-week long trial now seems to have been for nothing.

"A big waste of money for the government and for us, especially for those who prosecuted them. At least they should have served half of that sentence."

Peni Rabaka says he is worried the men may now seek revenge.

Meanwhile, the president of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, says it's highly unusual that the men convicted of killing a teenager have been released so soon after they were sentenced.

Mr Naidu says the severity of the offences should have been considered before their release.

He says the imprisonment of the soldiers may have been one of the reasons behind the abrogation of the constitution in April.

That might have impacted on the decision to get rid of the constitution is these guys being sent to prison. These are military officers and the military thinks otherwise but the public feel they have committed a crime and they should be dealt with in the normal way.

The president of the Fiji Law Society, Dorsami Naidu