Thursday, September 6, 2007

Justice for the abduction and torture of Anirudh Singh

Back in 1990, I wrote a series of news features about the case of Fiji academic Dr Anirudh Singh - his brutal abduction and torture by special forces soldiers in the post-Rabuka coups climate of oppression. One of my stories in the old Auckland Star stirred the wrath of then "Disinformation" Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. So I am pleased to see Anirudh finally get justice 17 years on. The High Court has awarded university lecturer Anirudh some $400,000 and five per cent interest for compensation for the abduction and torture. According to the Fiji Times, this would reach a total of $793,022.63 if interest is calculated for every 14 years as the judgment suggests.
High Court Judge Justice Roger Coventry also ruled that the Attorney General as sixth defendant be liable to payout $250,000 plus five per cent interest.
The army officers whom Justice Coventry had previously found to be represented by the Attorney General have been ordered to pay Anirudh a further $150,000 plus five per cent interest.
University of the South Pacific academic Anirudh, an outspoken campaigner for human rights, was abducted from his home in Rewa Street, Suva, by five soldiers from the Special Operations Security Unit and taken to the forests of Colo-i-Suva where he was hooded, beaten up and tortured.
The five soldiers involved, including former Special Air Services officer Captain Sotia Ponijese, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 12 months in jail. In 1993 Dr Singh took the case to the High Court claiming general, special and exemplary damages for his pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Ironically, the judgment came on the same day that the current regime in Fiji reimposed its state of emergency and a further clamp on free speech!
Inset: Auckland Star clipping of one of my stories about the abduction and torture of Anirudh Singh, 17 December 1990.

High Court awards $400,000 plus to Dr Singh
Keep quiet, Qarase told

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