Fiji: Military celebrates on anniversary of torture video
|Still from unverified video apparently showing the torture of prisoners in Fiji by military officers.|
The failure of Fiji authorities to independently investigate the torture and sexual assault of two men highlights their complete disregard for accountability and human rights, Amnesty International said one year on from the public release of a torture video.
On 5 March 2013 a nine minute video was released online showing the footage of two men being repeatedly beaten with poles, lying huddled on the ground handcuffed as batons are used repeatedly against them, apparently by security forces. The men were forced to undress and harassed by a dog, as men nearby laughed.
“One year since this footage was publicly released it is shocking that there is no credible evidence to suggest that Fiji authorities have conducted any sort of investigation, despite their assurances that one would take place,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand.
“Torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and by allowing such appalling crimes to pass in Fiji without those responsible being held to account is simply outrageous.”
Fiji is scheduled to hold democratic elections in September, the first since the 2006 military coup and its subsequent expulsion from the Commonwealth.
With celebrations taking place as Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, steps down from the military today to carry out his election campaign, Amnesty International is calling on him to take the opportunity to show leadership and ensure that those responsible for torture are brought to justice.
“Despite Fiji’s government professing a commitment to freedoms in the lead up to elections, the fact that it is willing to overlook torture and other ill treatment by security forces certainly suggests otherwise,” said Bayldon.
“Not only has the Government failed to investigate this appalling incident, but in the past military officers have received reduced sentences for other violent crimes and even been promoted.”
“What this shows is a pattern of the military government rewarding officers who perpetrate serious human rights violations with impunity.”
“There must be assurances and actions by Fiji’s authorities that torture and other ill treatment will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” said Bayldon.
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