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Fiji: “Shocking” video depicts alleged torture of prisoners

MEDIA RELEASE
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
5 March 2013

Fiji: “Shocking” video depicts alleged torture of prisoners

Video footage apparently showing the torture of prisoners in Fiji by military officers is “shocking”, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, as it called for an independent investigation into the events.

The nine minute video posted online appears to show two men being repeatedly beaten with poles, as they lie huddled on the ground handcuffed and screaming in agony as batons are used repeatedly against them.

The authenticity of the footage is still to be verified and the perpetrators are not in uniform, however, it appears consistent with earlier reports of brutality against prisoners by the Fijian military.

“This appalling incident appears to be the latest example of abuse by the military. The Fijian authorities must treat this shocking footage with the utmost seriousness and immediately initiate an independent investigation,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand. “While the video is still to be verified what is clear is that torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible must be brought to justice.”

“The humiliation of the men and their injuries which are also evident in the video is very serious. Forced to undress and harassed by a dog, as men nearby laugh, it is difficult to watch. The subsequent brutal beating with batons is harrowing. It is torture.”

Amnesty International is calling for an independent and transparent investigation into these events.

The organisation is also calling for clear assurances and actions by Fiji’s military government that torture and other ill treatment by military, police or prison officers will not to be tolerated under any circumstances.

If verified the the footage could be further evidence to corroborate previous reports of abuses by Fiji’s military.

In December 2012 Amnesty International issued an open letter to the Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, urging him to address the case of five prisoners who were allegedly tortured by military personnel.

Ends/

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