Amnesty calls for probe

Marama Tikomaivalagi shows a picture of her son Joseua Lalauvaki in Nausori. Picture: RAMA/FILE

AMNESTY International (AI) has called on authorities to publicly announce the result of their investigation regarding the death of a man who died after being allegedly beaten by police.

The 26-year-old man was rushed to the hospital after he was released from police custody in September this year.

Police had confirmed that Joseua Lalauvaki was murdered, however, the circumstances surrounding his cause of death was still not clear as investigations continued.

In a statement this week, Amnesty International called for a prompt, impartial, effective and independent investigation into all cases of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment by the security forces.

“This includes investigation into those assaulted alongside Lalauvaki, and police officers that threatened reprisals and prevented complaints from being filed on the day of incident,” AI said in a statement.

“The investigations must follow international standards, including the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Deaths and the manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Istanbul Protocol).

“Those against whom credible, admissible evidence is found should be prosecuted in fair trials by independent, civilian courts.” AI said it was imperative for relevant authorities to announce the result publicly and implement the findings meticulous- ly to bring justice to this case and help prevent further torture and deaths in police custody ”

As a state party to international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Fiji is legally bound to refrain from torture and arbitrary killings at all times.

“Fiji ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in March 2016, in line with its acceptance of recommendations made by several states during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council.

“While ratification is generally a positive step, Fiji made a number of significant reservations. Most notably, Fiji stated that it rejects the definition of torture in the Convention, which, because of the centrality of the definition to this treaty, renders its ratification almost meaningless.”

Meanwhile, police this week confirmed the investigation file regarding the murder of Mr Lalauvaki was still with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for sanctioning.

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