AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has called for an independent and transparent investigation into the Fiji assault of two prisoners by apparent plainclothes security forces as a public outcry climbed over brutal torture scenes portrayed in a leaked video.
The global human rights organisation said torture was unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible for the shocking scenes on the video should be brought to justice.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said in a press conference in Suva yesterday that the force was disturbed to see the video of what appeared to be the abuse of two men understood to be recaptured prisoners. But added that they were not the fugitives who escaped from Naboro Prison last year.
Fiji Times EDITORIAL by Fred Wesley
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
AS police investigate the circumstances surrounding a video that shows a group of men brutally assaulting two handcuffed men, a lot of questions will emerge.
The circumstances surrounding the video are sketchy.
The images though are disturbing and shocking. It is gross, painful and will leave an indelible impression on all those who have witnessed it.
It shows two men being brutally assaulted by members of the group who appear to be using batons and a metal pipe.
Another man is beaten on the ground. Then a dog is seen attacking him.
The abuse of the two men is shocking and traumatic.
Police yesterday confirmed an investigation to "establish the circumstances of this incident" was under way.
The "where", "when", and "why" of the incident will now have to be established by the police.
Police have confirmed the procedure of investigation will be similar to those followed when complaints are lodged against police officers in Australia, South Africa, the USA and New Zealand.
The police say they are not prepared to speculate on the identities of those involved, "so as not to prejudice the investigation" and that investigations have already started.
But the police, too, should refrain from comments that prejudice the investigation.
They seem already to be suggesting that the police have a tough job to protect people from violent crime.
That may be true, but nothing justifies the treatment meted out to the two handcuffed victims in the video.
Some of those people seen in the video are clearly identifiable and the facts of the incident should not, in a small country like ours, take long to establish.
For the average citizen, what appears on video is horrifying and will obviously take some time to digest and get over.
It has gone viral on the internet, attracting headlines on websites and television stations around the world.
Clearly this is not something Fiji is renowned for.
- Anti-regime blog accuses correctional officers over video beating
- Amnesty International statement from New Zealand
- Pacific Media Watch report on the brutality
- Fiji police investigate brutal assault video
- Labour Party condemns Fiji torture