27 Feb 2007

Academic questions Fiji army's treatment of prisoners

10:55 am on 27 February 2007

An academic in Fiji has warned that the current state of emergency should not be used as an excuse by soldiers to torture those taken into custody.

The Fiji Times reports that the warning has been issued by a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, Dr David Whish-Wilson.

Dr Whish-Wilson says that the military's stand allows people with violent tendencies to act on impulse.

He says any student of history knows that when one arm of the government believes itself to be above the law, it gives free rein to the sadistic impulses of those who have not been trained for interrogation, often with murderous consequences.

He was commenting on the death of 19-year old Nadi student Sakiusa Rabaka who died at the weekend after injuries suffered when he was taken into military custody in January.

Dr Whish-Wilson says if the military is genuine about their vision of Fiji as a peaceful, stable society under the rule of law, they might want to think about the long term consequences of using terror and brutality to achieve their ends.