Video claims to show Fiji police brutality

  • 05/03/2013

Fiji Police say they are “disturbed” to see the video which apparently shows Fijian prisoners being beaten.

Amnesty International is working to verify graphic and violent video that apparently shows escaped Fijian prisoners being beaten, and is calling on the Fijian government to condemn the use of torture by officials.

The Fijian police have now ordered an investigation into the video.

“We were disturbed to see the video that has emerged of what appears to be the abuse of two men.”

Fiji Police say they understand the video is of recaptured prisoners, but say the prisoners are not those who escaped from Naboro last year.

The graphic and violent video was posted on an anti-regime blog overnight.

Amnesty is attempting to verify who the victims are, and to confirm reports that the attackers were police or military officers.

On the blog, C4.5, one of men in the video is identified as Epeli Qaraniqio – one of five prisoners who escaped from a Fijian jail last year and were eventually recaptured.

The video shows him lying in the back of a ute, handcuffed and being viciously beaten by several people. At one point he is sexually assaulted.

Another man is shown being attacked by a dog on a lead, which grabs hold of his shirtsleeve and drags him along the ground.

Amnesty New Zealand’s executive director Grant Bayldon says the video appears to be consistent with evidence of the men’s injuries that the human rights group outlined in December last year in an open letter to Fiji’s military leader Frank Bainimarama.

“It appears to show sustained and horrific beatings that amount to torture of restrained men who were not resisting in any way,” he says.

“If this is verified, it does join a long list of uninvestigated allegations of abuse and torture in Fiji.”

Mr Bayldon says Qaraniqio lost one of his legs after he was tortured.

“One of his legs was fractured as a result of the beating and was left unattended to. He didn’t receive medical attention to that and eventually his leg had to be amputated as a result.”

This claim was rejected by the Fijian government, who said the amputation was due to diabetes.

Mr Bayldon says regardless of whether or not the video can be verified, there is enough concern raised by both the footage and Amnesty’s previous allegations to warrant an independent investigation.

But he says the current regime’s history of limiting freedom of expression and controlling the media means it would be hard to have confidence in the outcome of a government-initiated inquiry.

The Fijian government never responded to Amnesty’s open letter, and has not commented on the video.

3 News 

source: newshub archive

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