27 Nov 2015

Bail again denied for Fiji torture video accused

8:15 pm on 27 November 2015

A Fiji military officer charged with the sexual assault of an escaped prisoner three years ago has again been remanded in custody.

Video footage of a man allegedly being beaten by Fiji security personnel in 2012.

Video footage of a man allegedly being beaten by Fiji security personnel in 2012. Photo: RNZ

Pita Matairavula was called for a bail hearing at the Nasinu Magistrates' Court today over the alleged incident, which drew international condemnation when video of it was leaked online in 2013.

Mr Matairavula, who has previously worked as a bodyguard for prime minister Frank Bainimarama, was arrested only two weeks ago after he failed to attend two court hearings with his four co-accused.

Both the prosecution and the police have said he absconded and was harboured by the military in its barracks.

The military has denied interfering in the police work and earlier this month it moved to hire three of the co-accused, who were suspended police officers, saying they had been abandoned by the police.

Fiji's former police commissioner, Ben Groenewald, has called for an independent criminal investigation into the incident, saying it played a big role in his decision to resign.

The police force, which is now run by the military's former land force commander Sitiveni Qiliho, has declined to comment on whether there will be an investigation.

Mr Matairavula has been remanded in custody until the 2nd of December when the matter will be called again for a bail ruling.