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'Dear prime minister, I hope they'll free you'

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SUVA: An 11-year-old Fiji Islands schoolgirl today appealed in a national newspaper for the rebels to free elected prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his government from their parliamentary prison.

Chaudhry and 30 of his colleagues remain hostages of the rebel leader George Speight since they were seized during the armed takeover of Parliament on May 19.

"Dear PM," wrote Carolyn Chetty, of Class 5T, at Nadi Airport School, in her poignant letter published today in the Daily Post. "How are you you? I hope you and your colleagues are okay.

"We are praying for all of you to be released by George Speight and his gunmen.

"Mr Speight and the thugs who follow him should be punished for their actions.

"My sister Jaclyn, who is two and a half years old, wants you to be the Prime Minister of Fiji [again].

"She thinks martial law means shoot to kill.

"Every day we want to hear of your release.

"God will be with you because you are a kind-hearted and honest man.

"Many people miss you because you are a nice man. I hope you are released soon."

The hostages are barred by the captors from reading newspapers, listening to radio news and watching television.

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