AUTOPSIES START TO REVEAL FIJI MUTINY DEATH STORY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 11, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---One of the rebel soldiers killed in last week's mutiny died of a brain hemorrhage, an official at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital said yesterday.

The official told the Daily Post that the soldier died of Sub-dural Hematoma, which is caused by a blunt object hitting the head.

"This is commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents or the victim being subjected to a series of blows to the head," the official said.

The rebel soldier, who was buried yesterday, was a member of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit that staged an attempted mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth II Barracks. The autopsy report was presented to the Director of Criminal Investigation, Senior Superintendent Emosi Vunisa.

The human rights group Amnesty International has expressed its concern over the alleged violation of fundamental human rights in Fiji during the mutiny.

"Amnesty International is concerned by reports asserting that up to five CRW soldiers arrested after the mutiny were beaten to death," it said.

"Two of the dead CRW soldiers were seen injured at a police station during the night of their arrest before being taken by the military to the barracks," a statement said.

The international human rights group has also called on the interim administration, prisons authorities, military leaders and police to ensure that the Human Rights Commission receives full cooperation and all necessary assistance to carry out an effective and impartial investigation.

Soldiers from the elite Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit were also with Fiji coup leader George Speight when he took over parliament on May 19 and held hostage Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, and his government. The unit has now been disbanded by Fiji Military Forces commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

An Australian specialist, Dr. Stephen Cordner, has been conducting the autopsies on the eight loyalist and rebel soldiers killed during the mutiny.

Dr. Cordner is an Australian pathologist who was brought over specifically to determine the cause of death of the eight people. This was after two local pathologists pulled out after they allegedly received threatening calls.

Family members of the rebel soldiers have also been voicing their anger over the killing of their loved ones. This includes the family of dead escapee, Alifereti Nimacere, who died after allegedly being beaten by soldiers who arrested him at Nadonumai Village outside Suva last Thursday night.

Meanwhile, families of the three loyalist soldiers, who were murdered in cold blood in Thursday's attempted mutiny, are also demanding justice.

Close family members and friends say their loved ones didn't deserve to die. The three soldiers were unarmed when they were shot by the CRW soldiers, who attempted a mutiny at the military headquarters in Nabua.

Minister for Home Affairs Ratu Talemo Ratakele said the allegations of brutality will be investigated by the Commander of the Fiji Military Forces, Commodore Bainimarama, to see that justice is done.

The widow of one of the loyal soldiers said her husband was killed because of someone's greed for power. "How many more lives need to be lost for someone's hunger for power?" she questioned.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

 

MEDICAL AUTHORITIES CONFIRM REBEL FIJIAN SOLDIER BEATEN TO DEATH

SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 11, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Medical authorities in Fiji have confirmed that a rebel soldier involved in a mutiny a week ago was beaten to death.

Members of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit attacked the Queen Elizabeth Barracks II in a mutiny apparently aimed at freeing May 19 coup leader George Speight.

Eight people died, including five CRW members, and dozens of soldiers and civilians were injured.

One of those killed, CRW Corporal Selesitino Kalounivale, was at his home at the time of the attack and went to the barracks later.

He was not seen alive again.

The Fiji Times said the pathologist's report stated his cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries including head injury."

The newspaper said this report suggested Kalounivale had been kicked and punched to death.

Authorities have declined to say whether they are now treating his death as murder.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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