Fijian hostage taker George Speight is continuing negotiations with the Fijian military for the release of the more than 30 political hostages he's been holding in Suva for eleven days.



It was thought the hostages - deposed prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry and other members of parliament - would be released today in a deal that would grant Speight immunity from prosecution.



Speight is now talking about a resolution to the crisis by the weekend.



Earlier in the day Speight denied journalists access to see the hostages. He had agreed to allow a television cameraman and a newspaper photographer to photograph the hostages on behalf of the media.

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However he later said that was not possible.



Mr Speight says Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his ministers have asked that their privacy be respected.



In another incident, four of Speight's supporters were stopped at a checkpoint in Suva and were taken to the police station - where they were beaten up. One was hospitalised.



Speight says they broke the rules and left the parliamentary complex with a pistol. He believes they were beaten up by the police in retribution for the police officer who was shot several days ago.



Meanwhile, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, says the Government is not considering trade and economic sanctions against Fiji if a democratic Government is not put in place following the coup.



Miss Clark says these could end up penalising Indian Fijians.



She also says our Government would have to have the support of other countries in imposing economic and trade sanctions for such a tactic to make any impact.



- IRN

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