Monday, January 30, 2012

Sasa charged with mutiny


YAURA Sasa, the man who led rebel soldiers in a failed bid to take over the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, was yesterday charged with inciting mutiny, The National reports.
National Capital District police chief Peter Guinness said the charge centred on Sasa putting senior members of the Defence Force, including commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi, under house arrest and occupying the commander’s office forcefully and illegally last Thursday.
Guinness said police were also seeking legal advice on laying charges of “false imprisonment” and “deprivation of liberty” against Sasa.
“Police are treating the matter very seriously.
“Investigations are continuing and we will arrest those soldiers involved in the mutiny and the civilians who funded their operations,” Guinness said.
If tried and found guilty, Sasa could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Appearing before a “special court” yesterday at the Waigani committal hearing, a calm Sasa said he did not regret his actions as they were carried out “to uphold the Constitution”.
Sasa, almost 60, from Morobe, who led the eight-hour mutiny, had earlier said he was commander of the Defence Force and his immediate task was to restore “the integrity and respect for the judiciary and Constitution”.
Sasa was picked up by members of the police mobile squad at 8pm on Saturday from the Peai Lodge on Mirigini Avenue in Boroko, NCD.
Guinness said Sasa was taken to police headquarters that same night, interviewed until the next morning and charged.
Guinness said because of the sensitivity, urgency and importance of the case, a special court had to be convened to deal with Sasa immediately.
Heavily-armed elite police officers escorted Sasa to court at around 2pm before he was taken to the Bomana prison.
“He has the right to bail and a lawyer. However, given the seriousness of his case, he must apply through the National Court to have his bail granted,” Guinness said.
Sasa will reappear in court on Feb 29

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