6 Jun 2007

Appeal for Fiji's interim regime to stop the use of physical force in interrogations

7:23 pm on 6 June 2007

A Fiji Human Rights Commissioner, Shamima Ali, is to ask the Police Commissioner and the Military commander to put a stop to the use of physical force by the authorities.

This follows the death yesterday of a 30-year old man, Tevita Malasebe, after he had been detained and interrogated by police.

Police say he developed breathing problems during the questioning and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead but his mother, Anisa Nakuila, says she saw her son's body covered in bruises from the neck down.

His death follows that of two others earlier in the year who were detained by the military.

The report of the latest incident has stunned Ms Ali.

"This is shocking and I think the country has been left in a state of shock, not only us but the rest of the people I have been talking to. And, I just think that this is something that is unacceptable and was not supposed to happen."

Ms Ali says people need to know that they have rights.

We have to warn the people on the one stage but also work with the authorities to ask exactly when are these things going to stop and what are the actions being taken against such allegations.

Ms Ali says she is apprehensive about the police investigation into the matter because they have had other reports of physical abuse.