Thursday, March 11, 2010

Arrested Former MP Still in Custody,Where, Why?

Former MP Still in Limbo After Arrest by Military Last Friday

10 March 2010

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement expresses grave concern at the lack of news and coverage by Fiji’s local media of the whereabouts of former parliamentarian Peceli Rinakama.

Mr Rinakama, who hails from the highland province of Naitasiri was last seen on Friday the 5th of March following the sentencing of the Province’s Paramount Chief, the Qaranivalu, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata. Ratu Takiveikata was charged and found guilty by the illegal regime’s appointed court, of conspiring to kill Commodore Bainimarama.

The Movement has just confirmed with Rinakama’s family members in Fiji about two hours ago that he has not returned nor do they know of his whereabouts since he was arrested by the Military last Friday.

It has been claimed by the Movement’s sources that Peceli Rinakama could not hold back his emotions and anger at the way his chief has been arrested, charged with trumped up charges, unfairly tried and sentence to prison, that he verbally lashed out at soldiers gathered outside the Suva High Court complex following the sentencing.

A few minutes later, he was arrested by soldiers at the Suva home of Ratu Takiveikata and has not been seen or heard from since. Rinakama was part of group that had gathered at Ratu Takiveikata’s residence in the Suva suburb of Toorak. The Group had gone there following the sentence hearing to console Takiveikata’s family after the gross injustice that has occurred and were just about to partake in a social kava drinking session.

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement is deeply concern given the Fiji Military’s bad reputation in handling people they have taken into custody since Bainimarama took over as Commander of the Military. The Movement is concerned that it has been five days and the Military has once again reacted predictably to any voice of dissent against the illegal Bainimarama Regime and the Fiji Military.

In 2000, following the failed November Mutiny of special force soldiers known as the CRW Unit, and following their voluntary surrender, these soldiers were brutally beaten leading to the death of five and the hospitalisation of many others.

A post mortem report on one of the dead CRW soldiers, Selesitino Kalounivale, who, as a matter of fact, did not participate in the Mutiny but was arrested by loyal soldiers later on anyway, read ‘He (Selesitino Kalounivale) sustained numerous blunt impacts, particularly to the head but also to the chest and abdomen. All compartments of the head – front and back of scalp, forehead, eyes cheeks, mouth has received multiple blows. These have resulted in bleeding around the brain. The pattern of injuries indicate that this man has been severely assaulted.’

Following the coup of December 2006, a report by Amnesty International last year, has claimed that there has been an ongoing and systematic pattern of arresting, beating and detaining, and releasing without charge of thousands of people.

The National Director of the Deposed SDL Party of Prime Minister Lasenia Qarase, Mr Peceli Kinivuwai has been arrested and detained by soldiers on more than twenty five occasions since the December 2006 coup.

The systematic arrests by the military has also resulted in the death of Mr Nimilote Verebasaga and nineteen year old Sakiusa Rabaka. There are even claims that the death of escaped prisoner Josefa Baleiloa was due to beating by soldiers upon his arrest. These soldiers were reportedly masquerading as police officers and were part of the Police Group that went to arrest Beleiloa.

The Movement is mentioning all these previous deaths and human rights violations perpetrated by the Military to highlight to the World that Mr Peceli Rinakama risks suffering the same fate as those that has been taking into custody by the Military in the past and the deafening silence of the Fiji Military five days after Rinakama’s arrest is a major concern.


Usaia Peter Waqatairewa
National President - Australia
Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement

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