By Hayley J. Campbell
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – The Fiji Women’s Crisis Center is questioning how this month’s judicial ruling legitimizing the 2006 military takeover in Fiji will effect cases involving police brutality.
On October 9, a three judge court dismissed former prime minister, Laisenia Qarase’s request to have the 2006 military coup declared illegal.
“Of course, the ruling is going to affect the cases that have already been filed against the military and police. The judgment by the High court was political,” said Shamima Ali, the Center’s coordinator.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Center has raised concerns over whether the interim military government will treat cases involving police and military officers differently.
In particular, the Center identified two cases of alleged brutality which remain pending in court. The first involves a man named Tevita Malasebe, 31, who was a rugby player from Nabua, Suva. Malasebe was beaten to death by police in June of last year. Another man, Nimilote Verebasaga, was taken by soldiers in the middle of the night. He was pronounced dead the next day at the military hospital.
Ali added, “It means those officers implicated in the alleged murder cases and brutality cases before the courts won’t be prosecuted because of the immunity clause.”
For more information, please see:
Fiji Times – Fiji Court Ruling Could Impact Brutality Cases – 20 October 2008