A Senate nominee of Prime Minister Qarase, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, has received a life sentence for inciting the army mutiny of November 2000.
Ratu Inoke, the Qaranivalu and high chief of Naitasiri, also received an additional 18 month jail term for aiding soldiers to mutiny. He is expected to appeal the sentences.
The government Senator is the latest person close to government to be found guilty of involvement in the terrorist activities of May 2000 that brought down the Labour-led government of Mahendra Chaudhry, and the army mutiny of November that year.
In July, the Vice President Ratu Jope Seniloli, deputy speaker of Parliament, Ratu Tevita Vakalalabure, and three others were found guilty of treason-related activities and jailed for terms ranging from six years to 18 months.
Justice Anthony Gates, in finding Takiveikata guilty on Wednesday, had overturned the mixed verdict of the assessors a couple of whom had cleared him of all four counts of taking part in a mutinous act and one of aiding soldiers in a mutiny.
The crime carries a sentence of life imprisonment.
In giving sentence, Justice Gates told him, “I do not accept your role was any less than Captain Steven’s role in the mutiny. ” Stevens was the officer in the CRW unit who led the army mutiny of 2 November 2000 aimed at taking over command of the army.
The rebel soldiers were unhappy with the army’s role in arresting coup frontman George Speight and his close accomplices and other rebel elements.
Justice Gates told Ratu Inoke. “The aggravating factors are that this was no ordinary mutiny takeover; this was a ferocious battle with guns and grenades.
“Blame should not only be on Captain Stevens and his men but some responsibility should be shouldered by the accused. Clear evidence has been proven by the prosecution that the accused had asked the commander to step down.”
He pointed out that six soldiers had died in the mutiny and many others seriously wounded.