Commission looks into brutality claim

Ashwin Raj on his way to give his submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights in Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Ashwin Raj. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

THE Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) says it is looking into claims by a Nadi man that his son and other inmates at the Natabua Remand Centre were beaten and inhumanely treated by Fiji Corrections Service officers.

FHRADC director Ashwin Raj also warned law enforcement organisations to ensure that people in their care were treated in a humane manner.

Moceyawa Lare of Lomolomo claimed that his son, Inosa Ratulevu, was beaten on the night of July 9.

“He was taken to Nadi Magistrates Court on Tuesday, July 10, where he showed the magistrate his injuries and the magistrate remanded Inosa at the Nadi Police Station,” he said.

“I just want justice for my boy because of what happened to him.

“He said about 16 officers, including members of the K9 unit, came into the remand centre at about 9.30pm and began punching and kicking them.

“They were spat on and even had wooden batons used on them.”

A medical report in Mr Ratulevu’s possession stated the alleged injuries to Mr Ratulevu’s back were consistent with the use of “blunt force trauma”.

“I don’t think anyone should be treated this way because if my son is guilty then he should go through the court process.”

Mr Lare said his son was bailed yesterday and was at home in Lomolomo.

FHRADC director Mr Raj confirmed receipt of an official complaint yesterday of the alleged brutality.

“The complaint is currently being assessed by the Complaints Division,” he said.

“The commission strongly condemns all acts of torture and brutality and reminds law enforcement agencies that they have a constitutional obligation to ensure that in upholding the rule of law, they also have a positive obligation to uphold fundamental human rights, including the right to be free from cruel and degrading treatment of those that are in their custody.”

Questions sent to the Fiji Corrections Service on Monday about the alleged incident remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

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