Coalition calls for independent probe

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

THE non-governmental organisation Coalition for Human Rights is calling for an independent investigation after the death of Joseua Lalauvaki after he was allegedly assaulted by police officers last month.

Coalition chair Nalini Singh said they welcomed Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho’s comments that an investigation was directed with the hope that this investigation would be independent with no impunity towards those who were responsible for Joseua’s death.

“It is important for authorities to bear the responsibility for ending impunity for torture, it is a crime and an extremely serious violation of human rights. “There must be justice for the victims,” Ms Singh said.

She said the unfortunate death of Joseua, if not investigated thoroughly and allowed due process through law, would indicate Fiji’s lack of commitment towards human rights and the UN Convention against torture.

“This commitment is especially needed as Fiji has won its bid for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council and must show leadership in upholding human rights,” she said.

Ms Singh adds the abuse of authority through excessive force was an unaccepted conduct by police.

“We are aware Joseua Lalauvaki was taken to Totogo Police Station after being detained.

“Any investigation that is undertaken should note if Totogo Police Station had followed first hour procedure and informed Legal Aid of his detainment,” she said.

She also hopes the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission will scrutinise the overall investigation.

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