Alleged prisons brutality condemned

Minister Tikoduadua at Blackrock.

Two of Fiji’s government ministers have condemned the alleged assault of a man at the Suva Remand Centre, who was hospitalised with severe injuries.

Speaking at the Blackrock Camp, Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua stated, “I’m very concerned and I am disappointed because that must never happen to anybody. Obviously there is a mother who is pleading for her son. And she deserves justice,” Minister Tikoduadua told reporters.

The Fiji Times had earlier quoted Laisiana Yalinabelo as saying she had been “living” at Colonial War Memorial hospital and looking after her son, who had suffered internal injuries.

That matter is now under investigation.

Yesterday Tikoduadua said, “I deplore brutality by any part of government, particularly those services that are supposed to uphold it. And I’m calling on them, particularly their leaders to stop it. There cannot be any justification. for what I’m saying. No one can truly justify that.”

Meanwhile Attorney General, Siromi Turaga, said the allegations are being investigated and that he had personally contacted the mother of the alleged victim to assure her that the government did not condone any acts of violence.

Turaga recently visited the Fiji Corrections Service and had delivered the same message, noting there had been cases where prisoners had died at the hands of Correction Officers, however those charged claim that they were simply following orders.

In recent years there have been consistent criticisms of the treatment of prisoners in Fiji, and of the lack of action by bodies such as the Fiji Human Rights Commission. That Commission is currently without a substantive director and its full complement of Commissioners, but Turaga told a regional human rights conference this week that bringing it up to its full strength would be a priority of the new government.