Fiji Opposition MP: Government Still Acts Like ‘Dictatorship’

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

Ratu Isoa bemoans cancelation of torture investigation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 17, 2015) – A member of Fiji's parliamentary opposition says Fiji's government is still operating like a dictatorship.

Ratu Isoa Tikoca's comments come after a parliamentary standing committee was stopped from looking into allegations members of the security forces had tortured and threatened colleagues and family members of lawyer Aman Ravindrah-Singh.

Fiji AG insists on committee ban of torture talk

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has restated that a complaint about violence must be reported to the police before it is referred to any other institution.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment to FBC News as he is being challenged over the legal basis for his objection to the parliamentary committee discussing claims of abuse.

After a call from Mr Aiyaz-Khaiyum, the committee deliberations were abandoned, with him saying the committee has no expertise in receiving complaints on such matters.

Mr Ravindra-Singh has asked where it says that the committee has to await a complaint to the police.

An opposition committee member, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says reporting the matter to the police will stop the committee, adding his concern that investigations can then last a hundred years.

Ratu Isoa says it is yet another example of Mr Khaiyum claiming authority over institutions when, in a functioning democracy, he would have no jurisdiction.

"He crosses bounds from the executive level parliament into the judiciary. I have tabled in parliament documentary evidence of what he is doing to this nation by not honouring the separate authorities that should actually assist governance in a democratic manner"

Ratu Isoa Tikoca says Mr Sayed Khaiyum should resign from the attorney general's post.

Mr Ravindra-Singh says he is also concerned police investigations into many incidents of torture have not been completed in the last few years.

He says he is to lodge a complaint shortly.

Several police and military personnel face charges of rape and sexual assault.

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