Human Rights Commission and police investigate alleged brutality case in Tukavesi

Human Rights Commission and police investigate alleged brutality case in Tukavesi

By Iva Danford
Thursday 06/05/2021
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj. [image: File]

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and Police are investigating an alleged brutality case involving a man from Loa Village in Tukavesi who claims that he was assaulted by eight police officers and a soldier during a drug raid on the 26th of last month.

Police have also confirmed that they have received a report regarding this case on the 30th of last month.

It is alleged that this man was caught when he was approaching the farm while the raid was being conducted, and ran away when he had seen the officers.

Commission Director Ashwin Raj says the victim who is in his 40s has undergone a medical examination.

He says they have conducted a preliminary interview with the victim.

Raj says some of these officers were allegedly dressed in civilian clothes.

He says pursuant to section 30 of the Human Rights Act, the Commission is conducting an independent investigation into the matter on its own motion with the intention of providing redress to the victim.

Raj says the use of excessive force amounting to gratuitous violence, constitutes an infraction of section 11 of the Fijian Constitution which expressly provides that “every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhuman, degrading or disproportionally severe treatment or punishment”.

He says in the dispensation of its constitutional mandate, law enforcement agencies must conduct themselves within the confines of the rule of law and in adherence with human rights.

Raj says the fact remains that no one is above the law and any use of force by law enforcement agencies must be necessary, proportionate and lawful because they have a constitutional obligation to ensure that everyone enjoys the right to be free from cruel and degrading treatment even if they are in conflict with the law.

He says those responsible for this abhorrent act of violence must be held accountable and must face the full brunt of the law.

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