Threat claims by group

A GROUP of young men who were allegedly assaulted and tortured by police last month claim they were threatened not to speak of the ordeal, claims village headman Peceli Natusoro.

Mr Natusoro of Waikubukubu Village claimed police officers also threatened to return to the village to visit the alleged torture victims if villagers retaliated in any way or form.

He claimed the nine men were so traumatised and fearful of the police that they did not seek immediate medical attention.

One of the alleged abused man’s mother, Sulueti Lawai, claimed her son was bedridden for a few days before he was forced to seek medical attention by his wife.

“We kept telling him (Ovini Ratubalavu) to go to the hospital, but he said he didn’t want to go because he was scared that they (police) would come back for him,” she claimed.

Mr Ratubalavu’s wife Alesi Sura, claimed her husband finally went to the hospital because his injuries became excruciatingly painful.

Mr Natusoro claimed some of the police officers who carried out the alleged beatings were related to the alleged torture victims.

“We know them personally and we know their families because they are our own relatives,” he claimed. “We never thought they would treat their own family like this.”

He claimed villagers were also shocked that the policemen used alleged brutal force on the young men.

Mr Natusoro claimed the men were found with no marijuana when they were being interrogated by officers.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu has reiterated the police commissioner’s stand on the alleged abuse of authority by officers and assured that a fair and thorough investigation would be conducted.

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