23 Nov 2016

Seven to nine years jail for Fiji officers in Soko case

10:54 am on 23 November 2016

Eight police officers and a military officer convicted of rape, sexual assault and perverting the course of justice in Fiji have been given custodial sentences by the Lautoka High Court.

Prison bars

Photo: RNZ

The nine men attacked two prisoners, one of whom, Vilikesa Soko, died of his injuries while in custody in Lautoka Hospital in August 2014.

The 30-year-old had been arrested in connection with a robbery in Nadi.

The other victim, Senijeli Boila, survived.

The nine accused were convicted last week by Justice Aruna Aluthge who today sentenced the men to a range of prison times.

Manasa Talala and Seruvi Caqusau have been given eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years.

Kelevi Sewatu, Penaia Drauna and Senitiki Natakasavu have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years, while Filise Vere, Viliame Vereivalu, Jona Davonu and Pita Matairavula have been sentenced to nine years imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years.

Manasa Talala and Viliame Vereivalu were also convicted of defeating the course of justice by instructing other police officers to make false statements.

The Military officer, Pita Matairavula, is a former bodyguard for Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama who has admitted that torture is an issue in his country.

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