5 Jul 2002

Allegations of maltreatment of pregnant prisoner in Fiji jail

4:03 pm on 5 July 2002

Questions are being raised in Fiji about the violation of the human rights of a pregnant prisoner who suffered a miscarriage after being denied ante natal visits to the maternity clinic.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has demanded an urgent investigation into the case of Melania Tunidau who is on remand in Suva prison, awaiting extradition hearings sought by US authorities.

Tunidau is wanted in the US for fraud of 120-thousand US dollars from her elderly employers for whom she was providing care.

She suffered a miscarriage while five months pregnant after being denied visits to the hospital clinic.

The director of the Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, says Fiji prison authorities are aware of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners, which covers pre-natal and post-natal care.

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre has also demanded investigations into the allegations.