8 Nov 2005

Fiji police ordered to pay damages to woman for breach of her rights

9:28 pm on 8 November 2005

The Suva High Court has ordered the police to pay damages to a woman who sued the force for gross breach of her human rights.

The woman known only as Jyoti, who was formerly a security officer at Suva's Village Six cinemas, took the police to court for brutality and denying her her constitutional rights.

She said that six years ago when she found a baby abandoned in the washroom of the cinema, police accused her of being the mother of the infant.

She says the police ill-treated her, detained her and forcibly took her to the hospital to determine whether she had just given birth.

She said she only signed the consent form for the medical examination under duress because she was threatened she would be locked up if she did not.

The case was taken to court on her behalf by the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

The Commission director, Dr Shaista Shameem, has told Radio Fiji that while the 3-thousand US dollars awarded in damages was less than what they had sought, they are very pleased with the court ruling.

Dr Shameem says this is because the decision has a much greater impact on the advancement of human rights in Fiji.