Friday, May 16, 2008

Immunity for all: Beddoes

Immunity for all: Beddoes
Friday, May 16, 2008

DEPOSED opposition leader Mick Beddoes said if perpetrators of the 2006 takeover are given immunity, the same should be extended to George Speight and his group.

His comment comes in the wake of former vice-president Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi's speech at the Pacific Co-operation Foundation annual Pacific lecture in Wellington on Tuesday.

Mr Beddoes said immunity must be negotiated and not given blankly as whatever decision is made about the 2006 coup makers must be extended to Speight and his group.

"After all, why should one set of coup makers get off scot-free while another gets punished?

"What is the difference between the Speight coup and Bainimarama coup? Nothing, they are both acts of treason and both as destructive.

"The only difference is that George never got immunity, he faced the consequences of his actions and is paying the price for his beliefs, misguided though they are."

Mr Beddoes said while he agreed with the need to include immunity as part of a political settlement, it should be negotiated and have conditions attached and accompanied with improved deterrents for individuals considering a coup in future.

He said while he accepted that some form of immunity needed to be granted to military personnel who participated in the coup, some strict conditions must be negotiated.

He said immunity should become null and void if the conditions were breached and the perpetrator would automatically be subjected to the full extent of the law and backdated.

"Otherwise, we will as with Rabuka, send out a signal to coup makers that it is all right."

No comments: