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Fiji's 2000 coup leader George Speight seeks pardon

George Speight, the leader of Fiji's 2000 coup, has applied for a presidential pardon under a mercy clause, raising the possibility of his release from prison after serving over 20 years of a lifetime sentence.

The country's Attorney-General and the Mercy Commission chair, Siromi Turaga, confirmed to RNZ Pacific Speight's application is under consideration.

The process for the application began with the Fiji Corrections Service, followed by a case management process through the judiciary.

Subsequently, the Mercy Commission has held a meeting to discuss the matter.

"I can't give you more information," Turaga said, when asked what the Commission's recommendations were to the President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere.

The application for a presidential pardon falls under the provisions of Fiji's 2013 Constitution.

Under those provisions, the Mercy Commission can recommend to the President to exercise the power of mercy by granting a free or conditional pardon or remitting all or part of the punishment for a convicted person.

RNZ Pacific asked Turaga when a decision would be made regarding Speight. His response: "Again, it's confidential. There is nothing more I can tell you."

The final decision now rests with President Ratu Wiliame, who will determine whether the 2000 coup leader will be granted his freedom.

This week, Turaga told local media that it may take around a month before a decision is reached.