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FIJI: Terrorists Released

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI

Terrorists Released Issue No: 149; 27 October 2000

The soldiers involved in the terrorist taker-over of the Parliament have been released by the military. The soldiers belonged to the military's anti-terrorist Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit.

A report in today's Fiji Sun states that the military released them because the military law, like the civilian law, looks at a person as innocent until proven guilty. The Sun quotes the military's legal advisor, Lt. Col. Rate Etuweni Caucasus as saying that the release was subject to the Emergency Decree's section 6, which empowers the military to issue a Control of Movement Order. The Order", according to Caucau, "basically means that although they are released, they would be monitored and closely watched to ensure that they dont involve themselves in suspect actions such as calling assembly".

The Sun reports that the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama had spoken to the terrorists before their release from military custody.

This release sends very clear signals on how the military and the police deal with terrorists who wrecked havoc on the country for over 8 weeks. It is a firm statement that the disciplined force and the Qarase regime accepts and tolerates terrorism by soldiers.

It also indicates that the military's prior claim that the terrorists within its ranks were expelled, were only a public relations exercise to show that the military was coming firmly on the terrorists.

Now that the Australian government has privately informed the Qarase regime that it accepts the Qarase plan, the regime is cautiously legitimising the actions of the terrorists and freeing them up. The signals sent by the EU that it will not impose sanctions on Fiji is also seen as a passport to legitimise the actions of the terrorists.

END 27 October 2000.


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