Alleged Police Brutality

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The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) condemns the latest reports of alleged police brutality which led to the death of 26 year old Josua Lalauvaki.

Josua was allegedly assaulted while police were attending to a report of a disturbance outside a nightclub in Suva on 2 September. He was taken to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and later died on 11 October due to injuries he sustained.

Chief Executive Officer of the CCF, Sara Bulutani Mataitawakilai said the police are tasked with upholding the law and respecting the rights of every citizen.

Investigations and legal action should be pursued against anyone found in violation of the law especially the right of a person while being detained as in this case.

“Every individual has the right to be free from any kind of torture or inhumane treatment whether physical, mental or emotional.”

“Section 13 of the 2013 Fiji Constitution clearly stipulates that detained persons should be treated with respect and dignity and to have humane conditions of detention, including at the least, the opportunity to exercise regularly, adequate accommodation, nutrition and medical treatment,” said Bulutani.

We urge that thorough and expedient investigations are carried out the by the Criminal Investigations Department regarding the death of Josua and other similar cases.

In addition, CCF would also like to raise concerns on the level of human rights trainings done within the Fiji Police Force regarding the arrest and detaining of citizens and during the investigation process.

“It is important that recruits and those in the Force should be trained and made aware to respect the rights of detainees,” said Bulutani.

He added that the First Hour Procedure and Video Recording of suspects was piloted at Totogo Police Station for almost a year now and the end result is ongoing reported cases of human rights abuse of detainees.

Our security and defense force needs to know our obligation to the UN Conventions Against Torture that Fiji ratified in 2015.

Bulutani further stated that no matter the level of offence, the arrested person is still a human being and should be treated as such.

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