25 Oct 2002

Son of deposed Fiji PM sues for suffering after coup

8:26 am on 25 October 2002

The son of the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is suing three government agencies for pain and injuries suffered when he was held hostage after the armed invasion of parliament in the May 2000 coup.

The Fiji Times reports that Rajendra Chaudhry has filed a writ against the army, the police commissioner, the attorney general, the coup front man George Speight, and the republic of Fiji in general.

In his statement of claim, Rajendra Chaudhry says he was assaulted on several occasions and subjected to severe mental and physical injuries.

His injuries include rupture and damage to the liver, spinal injuries, tear of a tendon in his right shoulder, and continuing abnormal liver function requiring specialised medical treatment.

Rajendra Chaudhry, who was his father's private secretary immediately before the coup, says he was subjected to humiliating and degarding treatment.

This included being made to kneel or stand for long periods of time, paraded before members of a hostile group while being jeered, assaulted and abused, and assault on his father Mahendra Chaudhry in his presence.

The army is being sued for failing to be loyal to the government and upholding the constitution, and allowing the release of military weapons and hostage taking to take place.

The police commissioner is accused of negligence in not providing proper security in parliament.

Rajendra Chaudhry is asking the courts for damage for personal injuries, exemplary and punitive damages, expenses for medical treatment and an order that he be paid his salary and other entitlements.