Korovou sentencing too lenient

  • 4th December 2003
  • 2003
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Fiji Labour Party is concerned at the leniency shown in the sentencing Varinava Tiko and six others who were involved in the siege of Korovou town at the height of the 2000 political turmoil.

The seven were sentenced by Nausori Court on Monday. Tiko received a for two year jail term while his father Iferemi, 65 was given a suspended sentence considering his old age and deteriorating health.

The other five were sentenced to terms ranging from 18 months to two years.

FLP has written to the DPP protesting the leniency of the sentences and has asked that he appeal against it.

In the letter to the DPP, FLP asked, ” How can the court have failed to take into account the extent of lawlessness and suffering that these people inflicted upon the innocent rural communities living around Korovou.

“You must remember the lawlessness that was unleashed on the surrounding countryside following the siege of Korovou town. Scores of families, at times entire settlements, were forced to flee from their homes in fear after they were terrorised by marauding gangs…Homes were ransacked and burnt down, crops pillaged, livestock stolen and killed, shopkeepers terrorised, residents beaten up and raped women.”

“These seven men should be held accountable for not only seizing the town but for the terror that was unleashed on the rural community as a result of their actions, often instigated and condoned by them,” Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry said in his letter.

He questioned the suspended sentence given to Iferemi Tiko, 65, because of his old age and deteriorating health.

Mr Chaudhry said the rebels themselves had shown no sympathy for the hostages in Parliament several of whom were old and victims of chronic degerative diseases such as heart problems. A couple of these hostages have since died while some others have suffered permanent damage to their health.

The men who took over Korovou town were in close league with the rebels in Parliament.