Fiji: Independent investigation into all past abuses must follow torture trial

The opening of the trial of three police officers and two members of the military on charges of physically and sexually assaulting a man in their custody must be accompanied by an independent and impartial investigation of all past abuses by Fiji’s security forces, said Amnesty International today.

Four of the men appeared at Nasinu Magistrate’s Court after a “torture video” released online appeared to show them attacking Iowane Benedito with iron bars and batons in November 2012.

The whereabouts of the fifth man is not known.

“This video reveals the shocking level of brutality that the police force and members of the military are capable of. The repeated beatings that Iowane Benedito was subjected to were vicious in the extreme and they clearly amount to torture,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Campaigns Director.

Amnesty International has received multiple reports of Fiji’s security forces using torture and other ill-treatment against people in its custody.

“It’s been a long wait for justice for this torture victim, but many others are still waiting for their complaints to be investigated. Justice must be done in all these cases to assure people in Fiji that ill-treatment and torture is no longer tolerated,” Josef Benedict said.

“The government must put an end to the culture of impunity, it must agree to independent investigations into all cases of ill-treatment.”