Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two out of three murder charges dropped in Fiji plot case

FIJI'S ASSASSINATION conspiracy case has taken a dramatic turn with the dropping of two of three charges against eight men indicted.

The eight - including a high chief - had been accused of plotting to assassinate the self-appointed Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and two senior regime ministers in 2007.

Presiding judge Justice Paul Madigan dropped the charges of conspiracy to murder Mahendra Chaudhry and conspiracy to murder the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum because of “ambiguous” evidence.

The eight men now face one remaining count of conspiring to murder Bainimarama.

Fijilive reports:
Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbedoes Mills, Metuisela Mua, Sivaniolo Naulago, Eperama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo are now free on charges that they conspired to murder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry.

The first count still stands and that is the [alleged] plan to kill the Army Commander.

First accused Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has opted to give sworn evidence from the witness box as the case on the first count proceeds.

Five local assessors are also presiding over the case, now into its fourth week.
Ironically, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum today also issued a statement calling on the regime to take urgent action over the independence of the judiciary. Reverend Akuila Yabaki, director of the CCF, called on the government to invite the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to visit Fiji as soon as possible.

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