Those responsible for the alleged abhorrent act of violence against the Naqia villager must be held accountable - Raj

Those responsible for the alleged abhorrent act of violence against the Naqia villager must be held accountable - Raj

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 22/04/2020
The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj. [image: file]

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says those responsible for the alleged abhorrent act of violence against a 32-year-old Naqia villager must be held accountable and must face the full brunt of the law.

Director Ashwin Raj confirms that the Commission is conducting an independent investigation on its own motion into the case involving the man from Naqia Village in Wainibuka Tailevu who was allegedly assaulted and thrown off a bridge by a group of police officers dressed in civilian clothing on 14th April this year.

Raj says an investigation team from the Commission visited Naqia Village yesterday and conducted interviews with several villagers who witnessed the alleged incident and shared critical information, giving their account of what had transpired at the bridge.

He says the investigation team also visited the 32-year-old man at a Suva hospital this morning where he is undergoing medical treatment for the injuries sustained from the alleged ordeal.

He says the victim informed the Commission that he would be undergoing a third surgery tomorrow since his hospitalization.

Raj says the Commission interviewed the victim regarding the incident and is now in the process of assessing the information, verifying the facts and compiling its report.

The Director says the Commission welcomes the call by the Commissioner of Police to investigate this matter and it can now confirm that officers of Criminal Investigation Department were conducting investigations in Tailevu early this week.

The Commission reiterates that 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.

He 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.

Raj says the Commission will be forwarding its report to the Fiji Police Force and looks forward to prompt thorough and transparent investigations by the Police.

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