19 Jan 2011

Lusibaea release seen as Solomons precedent for other inmates

1:55 pm on 19 January 2011

The Premier of Guadalcanal says prisoners from his province convicted of crimes committed during the ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands may now seek the same treatment as MP Jimmy Lusibaea who's been released on parole.

The former fisheries minister was released less than two months after receiving a two year and nine month jail sentence for unlawfully wounding a person and assaulting a police officer.

The parole board says Mr Lusibaea was released on licence in compliance with legislation.

But the Guadalcanal Premier Anthony Veke says ordinary people believe some kind of amnesty may have been involved.

He says 50 to 100 Guadalcanal citizens are imprisoned for crimes committed during the tensions, who may now also seek their release.

"If they have given Lusibaea this opportunity to be released from prison then, as we already know he was guilty of the crimes committed, and one of them is very serious, shooting of somebody. There are a lot of prisoners of Guadalcanal who might have the same conviction, therefore I think they will be looking for the same treatment."

Anthony Veke says Jimmy Lusibaea's release has set a precedent.