Statement, July 20 2014
The SDL Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said today that the decision to halt investigations into the horrific beating and torture of two men last year is a massive blow to the rule of law. The new Police Commissioner owes the people of Fiji an explanation? Does this mean the government now seeking election condones violence? It can have no other meaning.
In the absence of a satisfactory explanation from the Commissioner, the police force, under its new commissioner, is compromised.
The government and the police had promised the nation there would be a full investigation into this serious crime.
It involved a prolonged attack by members of the security forces on an escaped prisoner and the man who reportedly harbored him. The assault was seen worldwide on You Tube. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said he stood by his men who were doing their duty.
And now, 16 months later, without any charges being laid or an explanation the police chief of operations, ACP Rusiate Tudravu, announces (Fiji village 18/07/2014) the investigation has been closed and there will be no further comment. This is not ‘good enough’ we demand an explanation from the Police Commissioner.
Ro Teimumu said a SODELPA government will reopen the investigation and ensure the culprits are brought to justice. We want to know what kind of inquiry was conducted and how many people were interviewed?
As elections draw near the rule of law is an issue in the election campaign and it is a keystone for Fiji’s progress.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will have to explain the policy of his Fiji First Party on the application of the law. He must explain this in view of the closing down of investigations into the savagery of the attack on the two men last year without a conclusive outcome and due process fully applied.
Authorized By: SODELPA
“Well if closing the investigation means that no-one has been held to account, then I think that’s really another black mark in terms of accountability and
the rule of law in Fiji.”
Grant Bayldon of Amnesty International
Mother of the beaten victim: "They treated my son like an animal...ISA na luvequ! Oilei turaga! Sa mosi dina na yaloqu, na cava beka e leqa
(Oh my son! Oh Lord! My heart is in pain, what is the problem)"
FAIR OR FOUL RESPONSE: THE BEATING AND BRUTALITY HAD DIVIDED OPINIONS:
"This is not an apologia for excessive use of force on the part of the police, as doubtless some of Grubsheet’s critics will argue. Yet there seems little doubt that certain elements of the criminal class in Fiji have a sense of entitlement that poses a very real threat – even in relatively peaceful times – to the rights of all citizens to not only feel, but be, secure and unmolested. This demands a particular resolve on the part of the authorities and some excesses are doubtless inevitable. They can’t be condoned but they can at least be understood, set against a social background in which violence has been an accepted feature for so long...when we were watching that video of those prisoners being degraded and were appalled, we were also watching something of ourselves." Graham Davis in Grubsheet, 7 March 2013, TACKLING A CULTURE OF VIOLENCE. Read full opinion HERE