Two Corrections Officers have been charged for the murder of Jone Masirewa, the prisoner that died after he fell ill while in remand at the Natabua Corrections Facility in Lautoka.
Police say the two were arrested and charged for murder.
They say two other Corrections Officers have also been charged with assault.
All the four accused will be produced in a special court sitting in the Lautoka Magistrates Court today.
Masirewa who was in his 30’s was charged with burglary.
Meanwhile the Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj had called for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the death of Jone Masirewa, and to hold those responsible to account without impunity.
Raj says the Commission, on its own motion, is investigating this matter.
He says any allegation of death in custody is a serious human rights concern given the fact that the right to life is absolute.
Raj says the allegation made by the family of the late Masirewa, that they were not informed of the reason for their son’s arrest and detainment until the day he died is disconcerting and constitutes an interdiction of his rights as an arrested and detained person pursuant to section 13 of the Fijian Constitution.
Raj further says those arrested and detained have the right to be free from cruel and degrading treatment and must be afforded their rights guaranteed under section 13 of the Fijian Constitution.
The Director says the Commission would have visited the Natabua Remand Centre to conduct its preliminary investigations. However, in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, the Fiji Corrections Service has suspended visitations to all its facilities.
Raj says the Deputy Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service informed the Commission that “due to mass population in all Corrections facilities it will always be at risk if there is any outbreak inside the facilities. Precautionary measures are being taken to ensure the health and hygiene of those under their care is their top priority.”
He says the Commission wrote to the Fiji Corrections Service on 14th April 2020 enquiring the name and age of the deceased in question, why was the remandee incarcerated and for how long and as per the media reports, the remandee was not feeling well. In such a circumstance, was the remandee provided immediate medical attention by the authorities and is the post-mortem report available? What could have led to the remandee’s death?
Raj adds that the Commission is awaiting a response from the Fiji Corrections Service to its queries.
He adds while the Commission is mindful of the fact that ensuring the rights of arrested and detained persons can be a challenge in this context given the risks of exposure, the seriousness of the late Jone Masirewa’s death warrants a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation.
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