23 Sep 2017

Fiji judge finds 15 people guilty of sedition

11:33 am on 23 September 2017

Fifteen people accused of trying to form a sovereign Christian state in Fiji have been convicted of sedition.

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Photo: 123RF

Justice Aruna Althange made the decision in the High Court at Lautoka on Friday afternoon.

Twelve of the accused were convicted of two counts of sedition; two more - Nanise Kasame Nagusuca and Waisea Duailima - were convicted of four counts.

One person, Apolosi Qalilawa, was convicted of one sedition charge, but found not guilty of the other.

The group is accused of conducting secret military training in the hinterlands of the northern Ra province, as part of a wider effort to form a breakaway Christian state. They denied the charges.

Justice Althange's decision goes against the decision of a panel of assessors just a week earlier when all were found not guilty in a split decision - with three judges finding them not guilty, while two said they were guilty.

All of them were granted bail until sentencing next Thursday and the maximum sentence for sedition is seven years in prison.

There are several other sedition cases pending in Fiji, including against The Fiji Times.

The Ra 15:

- Ratu Epeli Niudamu

- Sailasa Wairoaroa Malani

- Sereima Adidave Rokodi

- Nanise Kasami Nagusuca

- Waisea Duailima

- Isikeli Waisega Kabakoro

- Laisiasa Mocevakaca

- Emosi Toga

- Waisake Racaca

- Samuela Ligabalavu

- Mikaele Gonerara

- Josefa Natau

- Sulueti Lotu Waqalala

- Ulaiyasi Rabua Tuivomo

- Apolosi Qalilawa