The leader of the opposition SODELPA party in Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka, has called on the relatives of people convicted of sedition to stay calm and maintain respect for the rule of law.
Last week, 14 chiefs and elders in Ra were jailed for conspiring to form a breakaway Christian state.
They have been jailed for up to three years but their lawyer said they maintained their innocence and he said he would launch an appeal.
Former prime minister Mr Rabuka said sedition is an archaic offence that had been removed from the law books of many Commonwealth countries given the fundamental right everyone has to freedom of speech and freedom of opinion and belief.
He said they should be allowed to serve their sentences outside of prison.
Mr Rabuka said they were all first time offenders, who did not harm anyone, did not incite violence but simply gathered to express their dissatisfaction with various decrees that limited their rights and the protection of their rights to their land, qoliqoli and resources.
He said they deserved compassion.