FIJI MURDER SUSPECTS ASSAULTED BY POLICE, LAWYER SAYS

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Accused have been in jail for three weeks since arrest

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 25, 2010) - Two of the five men accused of killing a couple at their Valelevu flat early this year were assaulted by police officers while on detention, the High Court in Suva, Fiji was told.

Eparama Niume, Joveci Naika, Soroveli Qetaki, Apenisa Lino and Ratu Josua Eeroma Mara appeared before Justice Priyantha Fernando.

Defence counsel told the court the incident occurred at the time of their arrest some three weeks ago.

The court has allowed time for the accused, Niume and Naika, a juvenile, to undergo a medical checkup as they complained of pain in their ribs.

No decision has been made on the duo’s bail application.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a ‘Fiji Times’ online report the suspects have all been denied bail as the requests were made verbally and not in writing.]

The court was told that "both are Fiji citizens and do not have passports and that they would abide by strict bail conditions imposed by the court".

"Both reside at Muanikoso and are willing to report to the nearest police station or police post three days a week, Monday, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

"There is absolutely no indication that they can interfere with prosecution witnesses and they have already spent two weeks in custody," the court was told.

A decision is expected to be made when the case is re-called on February 8.

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