Rights of detainees

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

THE Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) has condemned the latest reports of alleged police brutality which led to the death of 26-year-old Joseua Lalauvaki.

CCF chief executive officer Sara Mataitawakilai said the police were tasked with upholding the law and respecting the rights of every citizen.

“Investigations and legal action should be pursued against anyone found in violation of the law, especially the right of a person while being detained as in this case,” Mr Mataitawakilai said.

“Every individual has the right to be free from any kind of torture or inhumane treatment whether physical, mental or emotional.

“Section 13 of the 2013 Fiji Constitution clearly stipulates that detained persons should be treated with respect and dignity and to have humane conditions of detention including, at the least, the opportunity to exercise regularly, adequate accommodation, nutrition and medical treatment.”

He said CCF urged that thorough and expedited investigations were to be carried out by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding the death of Mr Lalauvaki and other similar cases.

He highlighted that CCF would also like to raise concerns on the level of human rights trainings done within the Fiji Police Force regarding the arrest and detaining of citizens and during the investigation process.

“It is important that recruits and those in the force should be trained and made aware to respect the rights of detainees,” he said.

He said the first hour procedure and video recording of suspects were piloted at Totogo Police Station for almost a year now and the end result was ongoing reported cases of human rights abuse of detainees.

He said that no matter the level of offence, the arrested person was still a human being and should be treated as such.

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