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The Treason Charge

Issue No: 817 1 June 2001

The preliminary inquiry on the charge of treason against the terrorists George Speight and his band of thugs has been deferred to next week. This was after Speight sacked his lawyer Rabo Matebalavu.

The charge sheet reads as follows:

"Statement of Offence TREASON: Contrary to Section 50 of the Penal Code, Cap. 17.

Particulars of Offence

Accused

1. Ilikimi Naitini a.k.a. George Speight,

2. Ratu Timoci Silatolu,

3. Josefa Nata,

4. Ilisoni Ligairi,

5. Joseva Savua,

6. Samu Konataci,

7. Avorosa Vakawaraivalu, a.k.a. James Speight,

8. Iliesa Duvuloco

9. Peceli Vuniwa

10. Apenisa Rovutiqica

11. Maciu Naisogobuli

12. Maciu Navakusuasua

13. Simione Drole

did together and with other persons unknown, between the 1st day of May 2000 and the 27th day of July 2000 inclusive, at Suva, in the Central Division and in other places in the Central Division and elsewhere in Fiji, conspire to overthrow the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law and for that purpose and in furtherance thereof did use unlawful force and other unlawful means.

Over Acts of the said Treason

First Overt Act

The accused did together and with other persons unknown, on or about the 1st day of May 2000 and on divers dates thereafter up to and including the 18th day of May 2000 conspire to effect by armed force and illegal means the takeover of the Parliamentary Complex at Veiuto, Suva, in the Central District, Republic of the Fiji Islands and to thereby effect the unlawful detention of the Prime Minister, various Members of his Cabinet, various Members of the House of Representatives and others within the said Parliamentary Complex.

Second Overt Act

The accused on the 19th day of May 2000 at the Parliament Complex at Veiuto, Suva, in the Central District, Fiji, did by force of arms, seize take and detain as hostages, the Prime Minister, members of his Cabinet, members of the House of Representatives and other persons, for the purposes of, and with the intent to, overthrow the lawful Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

Third Overt Act

The accused on the 19th day of May 2000 did purport to form an illegal government styled as the 'Taukei Civilian Government' subsequent to and consequent upon the attempted overthrow or the overthrow of the lawful Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

Fourth Overt Act

On the 19th day of May 2000 ILIKIMI NAITINI a.k.a. GEORGE SPEIGHT with the concurrence and encouragement of the other accused and persons unknown did purport to abrogate by Decree the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law.

Fifth Overt Act

On divers dates on or after the 19th day of May 2000 the accused, and other persons unknown did purport to promulgate various enabling Decrees under which ILIKIMI NAITINI a.k.a. GEORGE SPEIGHT with the concurrence and encouragement of the other accused and other persons unknown purported to appoint a President, a Prime Minister and other Ministers and others under the aforementioned 'Taukei Civilian Government'

Sixth Overt Act

On divers dates between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 27th day of July 2000, inclusive, the accused did foment civil commotion and unrest in and around Suva in the Central District, and in other places in Fiji, for the purposes of destabilizing and then attempting to overthrow or overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law.

Seventh Overt Act

The accused did between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 29th day of May 2000, Inclusive, utter threats against the life of the lawfully appointed President of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, His Excellency Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Eighth Overt Act

The accused did on divers dates between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 27th day of July 2000, inclusive, breach the duty of allegiance owed by themselves to the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law.

Ninth Overt Act

On the 28th day of May 2000, the accused did incite, aid and abet, counsel and procure the murder of Filipo Seavula then a member of the Fiji Police Force, in the course of an armed insurrection aimed at overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law, for the purposes of furthering that insurrection.

Tenth Overt Act

The accused did between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 13th day of July 2000 inclusive, intentionally endanger the lives of the then deposed Prime Minister of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, Members of his Cabinet, Members of the House of Representatives, and other persons in the course of an armed insurrection aimed at overthrowing the lawful Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

Eleventh Overt Act

The accused did between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 13th day of July 2000 inclusive, aid, abet, counsel and procure various acts of looting, rioting and breach of the peace in the course of an armed insurrection aimed at overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law.

Twelfth Overt Act

The accused did on divers dates between the 1st May 2000 and the 19th May 2000 inclusive, unlawfully obtain, arms, ammunition, ordnance, stores and personnel for the purposes of the overthrow the lawful government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

Thirteenth Overt Act

The accused did on divers dates between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 27th day of July 2000 inclusive, assemble themselves and others and array arms, stores, ordnance and personnel in order to deploy potential, threatened or actual force against the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands as established by law.

END

Canadian Committee protests on Fatiaki funding Issue No: 816 1 June 2001

The Canadian Committee for Democratic Rights in Fiji has lodged a protest to the Canadian Prime Minister for the Canadian government's funding of a trip for Justice Daniel Fatiaki to Canada.

Justice Fatiaki was involved in drawing up the advice to the now deposed President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara when the elected government was held hostage by terrorists. The advice included advice to dismiss the elected Prime Minister, dissolve the Parliament and abrogate the Constitution. Fatiaki was later assigned a case where the legitimacy of the new President's decisions has been questioned. Fatiaki was asked by the applicants to step aside on grounds of bias. But he refused to do this stating that the applicants had to prove that he was involved in drafting the advice to the President. The applicants filed numerous affidavits, including two from judges, to demonstrate their case. Only then did Fatiaki remit the case to the Chief Justice to assign another judge.

In its letter to the Canadian Prime minister, the Canadian Committee for Democratic Rights in Fiji asked the Canadian Government to reconsider the funding for Judge Fatiaki. It stated that as "a champion of human rights and constitutional democracy" the Canadian Government "MUST NOT be seen to support a member of the Fiji judiciary who supported the abrogation of a legitimate constitution".

The letter also states: "Judge Fatiaki has not exercised professional high standards expected of a judge. Conversely he has been alleged to be on the side the perpetrators of the coup in Fiji on May 19-2000. He is part of the conspiracy that destabilized a very vibrant and just Government. You action, Sir, is needed immediately to put right this grave wrong that has been allowed by your representatives in New Zealand, and our Government."

END

Foreign observers for election Issue No: 815 1 June 2001

The Qarase regime has allowed the proposed August election to be observed by three groups of foreign observers.

The media reports that the regime has allowed permission to the UN, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the EU to observe the election.

The regime, however, states that no other body or nation, will be allowed in for this purpose.

Earlier the US government had proposed that the Carter Centre could be involved with ensuring that the elections are free and fair.

Doubts have been expressed by many that the regime will attempt to rig the election. It is understood that the SVT has also expressed doubts about the regime's intentions on the elections.

While the Elections Office has reasserted its independence, questions over the impartiality of returning officers and polling agents remain. The actual election work is conducted by the civil servants, many of who have been placed in their positions by the Qarase regime. A glimpse of this was seen in Rakiraki recently during the Sugar Cane Growers Council election where the District Officer had ruled that a candidate opposing the regime-backed candidate, was not qualified to contest. The candidate had to seek legal assistance to remain in the running, and successfully won the contest.

END


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