Fiji Time: 2:13 PM on Wednesday 26 October

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Criminal inquiry

Repeka Nasiko And Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE grieving father of a 30-year-old man who died a few days after he was arrested by police is reaching out to the highest office of the land for assistance in finding justice for his son.

Jeremaia Soko said yesterday he was shattered when he saw the post-mortem examination report from the Lautoka Hospital.

He said he was convinced that his son, 30-year-old Vilikesa Soko, was tortured.

"This is a person's life we are talking about," he said.

"I am a Christian church minister. I have seen the report, nobody should go through what my son went through, and now I am asking the Prime Minister, the Minister for Health and the Commissioner of Police to please help me," he said.

"Please just tell the truth. We must remember that everything we do, at the end of the day, we are all accountable to God."

Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald yesterday launched a criminal investigation and assured that no stone would be left unturned.

He said under his leadership, he would not condone unethical behaviour from his men.

Mr Soko said he was aware of reports that his son was a suspect in the $50,000 robbery of a Nadi foreign exchange outlet.

"My son may have been involved, I am not aware of the details.

"But we live in a country that has a police force and a judicial system.

"He has not been charged so he was like every one of us at the time of his arrest.

"I do not believe excessive force should have been used.

"The law should have been allowed to take its course."

Mr Soko said he was also angered by reports that suggested his son was sickly.

"I have six sons and they are all healthy. Vilikesa played rugby so he was healthy.

"He was manager/coach and has never been admitted to hospital."

According to the post- mortem examination report in Mr Soko's possession, the deceased died of left pulmonary embolism.

This is a blockage of the main artery of the left lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism).

The report stated that the injury was caused by immobilisation, severe septicaemia (multi-organ failure), Fournier's Gangrene and necrotising fasciitis (toxic shock syndrome), multiple traumatic injuries and alleged traumatic rectal injury.

The report also stated that his external injuries were caused by alleged assault.

His death certificate also recorded his time of death as 5.30pm.

Mr Soko Sr said he was hoping to transport his son's body to Suva on Monday for burial on Tuesday.

The deceased is survived by his wife and three daughters, aged seven, five and three years.

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