Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Military Intimidation Continues

Student beaten, family seeks military explanation

Monday, March 05, 2007

THE family of a 16-year-old high school student has expressed anger over an alleged military assault on him in January.

A member of the family who lives in Suva said they have lodged their complaint with the military itself on the way the student was treated, but so far nothing had been done.

The student's cousin said the incident occurred in early January when the student was picked up from the Sunset Motel in Suva by the soldiers after they received a complaint.

"My cousin was at the motel with his girlfriend and someone complained to the military that he was beating up the girl.

That was when two twin cabs full of soldiers arrived at the motel and started punching him, before they took him," he said.

He said he was taken to Colo-i-Suva and left there in the night.

The student, he said arrived at his home in Raiwaqa at around 7am the next morning.

"It took him two days to recover and tell us the whole incident. We made a complaint to some military officers later on but nothing was done about it." "Our whole family had been to the military police office but no one did anything about our plea," he said.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said he would be in a position to make a fair comment if he was informed about the full details of the case and the people involved.

However, Major Leweni said if people had complaints against the military then they should follow the right channel by lodging a complaint to the Fiji Human Rights Commission. The Commission's Director Dr Shaista Shameem said they would refer some of the complaints they received to the court.

Ousted PM’s lawyer tells of break-in terror - 20 Feb 2007

A lawyer representing ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's case against the military claimed that an indirect threat was made against him. Suva lawyer Tevita Fa alleged that three soldiers smashed his sister's vehicle in front of their home in the early hours of yesterday morning.He said three men entered his compound at about 1am and smashed the windscreen and windows of the vehicle "My security guards gave chase and followed the men all the way to where a military vehicle was parked waiting for them," he said.However, army spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said that Mr Fa was making serious allegations against the military. Mr Fa said his security guard recognised one of the officers as a corporal in the Republic of Fiji MilitaryForces."I have reported the matter at the Central Police Station and an officer was later assigned to provide security until daylight," he said."This may be an indirect threat against me because I am representing the ousted Prime Minister, but I will continue with my work as a barrister and solicitor," said Mr Fa."I took an oath when I was admitted to the bar, and I am nowhere near breaching that oath," he said.Major Leweni called on Mr Fa to bring the security guard to the army camp where they could conduct an identity check. Mr Fa said he was concerned about his family but assured that he would continue pursuing the case against the military.When the Fiji Sun visited his home vehicle owner Ana Fa said her family was disturbed by a loud thumping sound that got everybody to their feet and running to the front door.“We thought that guns were firing but when I peeped outside I saw my vehicle in total wreck,” she said. She said a security guard later informed them that he had confronted the men but could not detain them because they were soldiers. Police spokesperson Corporal Suliano Tevita confirmed a complaint was received at CPS early in the morning about the incident. He said investigation was underway but would not comment on the allegations that soldiers were involved.

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