28 Nov 2006

Tonga MP says hundreds brutally beaten by soldiers

6:22 pm on 28 November 2006

Tongan pro-democracy MP, Clive Edwards, says Tongan soldiers have brutally beaten dozens of people as the state of emergency set up nearly two weeks ago remains in force.

Mr Edwards says those beaten up are denied medical treatment.

He says people are being denied their human rights and they need New Zealand and Australian help to end the abuses.

Mr Edwards, who says he himself was attacked and dragged along the ground on Monday, estimates more than 300 people have been hurt.

"We are trying to get the medical certificates and photographs of these and we are hoping to be processing and publishing them, because instead of having a state of trying to restore peace and order, the soldiers are causing problems [for] the people, and attacking people. It's very bad over here at the moment."

Mr Edwards says the pro-democracy MPs have asked church leaders to help them open communication channels with the government.

He says they have not been able to talk with the government since the crisis started.