29 Nov 2006

Tongan military dismisses claims of abuse following riots

5:10 pm on 29 November 2006

The Tonga Defence Services are dismissing claims by an MP that soldiers have beaten up dozens of people during the investigations into the rioting two weeks ago.

Pro-democracy MP, Clive Edwards, says he has estimates that more than 300 people have been brutally beaten after being taken into custody.

But the official with the TDS, who would not give his name, says there is no evidence to back up the claims.

He says Mr Edwards is trying to distract attention from the role the pro-democracy MPs played in the riots.

And the Tongan police commander, Sinilau Kolokihakaufisi, says there have been no reports of suspects being ill-treated.

"I think Clive should substantiate his claim or allegation on this because I haven't received any complaint. And I have checked with my officers at our central police station but they haven't reported any ill treatment of people in custody."

Sinilau Kolokihakaufisi