7 Sep 2007

Fiji court awards damages to academic tortured by police in 1990

10:28 am on 7 September 2007

The Suva High Court has awarded damages of 244-thousand US dollars to an academic who was kidnapped, beaten and tortured by five soldiers in 1990.

The incident happened soon after Dr Anirudh Singh of the USP took part in the protest burning of the race-based 1990 Constitution which had just been promulgated.

The soldiers were from an army unit responsible for gathering intelligence on potential dissidents.

Fiji TV reports that in handing down his judgment, Justice Roger Coventry said it was important for commanders and officers to know that the courts will not flinch from awarding damages if the offences were committed under their command.

Justice Coventry said the offence was exacerbated by the military's failure to apologise and take disciplinary proceedings against the five soldiers.

He said the fact that the case took 14 years to bring to a conclusion was also an injustice and he awarded interest on the damages for 14 years.

Justice Coventry said it was important for commanders and officers in charge of disciplined services to ensure full and proper control of those under their command so that human rights and the rule of law were maintained