Fiji Parliamentary Committee To Investigate Torture Claims

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Public to be invited to submit testimony on allegations

By Siteri Sauvakacolo And Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 15, 2015) – A meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence yesterday has agreed to look into allegations of torture by lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh and the abrupt departure of the former commissioner of police.

The meeting followed a letter from committee member Roko Tupou Draunidalo to committee chairman Netani Rika urging the committee to look into the alleged matters because they were central to the committee's oversight functions, duties and powers.

She said the committee would soon invite members of the public involved in the matter who had been allegedly tortured and unlawfully detained to make submissions before it.

Following submissions, the committee is expected to compile a report and table it to Parliament for further actions.

While the committee finalises a date for public submissions, Acting RFMF Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto has refuted claims by Mr Ravindra Singh of mistreatment at the hands of the disciplined forces.

"There is no involvement of military personnel on any of those allegations but if there is anything, we will wait for police. If they are going to lodge a formal complaint, there will be an investigation," Rear Admiral Naupoto said.

Acting Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has given his reassurance they would investigate the claims should an official police complaint be lodged.

"I told him (Mr Ravindra Singh) to call me when he lodged an official complaint but he hasn't and nothing as well has been lodged in the West," Brig-Gen Qiliho said.

"I gave Aman that personal assurance as well last week that we will deal with the issue."

When contacted yesterday, Mr Ravindra Singh said he would call an official press conference on Wednesday.

Mr Ravindra Singh's story has been reported in the international media claiming the men who tortured his friends wore military boots, were well-trained and spoke in a certain manner.

He told Radio New Zealand specifically that he and his staff were fearful after three attacks, two of which happened within hours of each other two weeks ago.

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