Rabuka, Prasad, Singh, Baba and Dakuvula being treated properly in Police custody, says Ashwin Raj
Politicians, a trade unionist and a non-government organisation staff member who were taken in for questioning by Police yesterday are being treated properly, says Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj. Mr Raj visited the five men who were detained overnight as Police investigations continued into comments made at a Pacific Dialogue forum held at the St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Suva recently. SODELPA leader Sitivevni Rabuka voluntarily attended the Police interview while National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad, trade unionist Attar Singh, former politician Tupeni Baba and
Pacific Dialogue’s Jone Dakuvula were rounded up and taken to Totogo Police Station yesterday. Mr Rabuka spent the night at Raiwaqa Police Station, Mr Prasad, Mr Singh and Mr Baba spent the night at Totogo, while Mr Dakuvula spent the night at Samabula Police Station. Mr Raj last night said he met with the five and informed them of their rights as arrested and detained persons. “The Commissioner of Police was very receptive in facilitating my request to visit honourable Biman Prasad, Mr Sitiveni Rabuka, Mr Attar Singh, Mr Tupeni Baba, and Jone Dakuvula who are held at various Police stations around the central division. “I checked on whether they had been fed, needed any medical attention, were able to communicate with their family and had access to their legal counsel. “I understand that they will be held overnight for the purposes of being interviewed and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission will be monitoring the progress of these investigations as well as the welfare of these detained individuals.
“The Fijian Constitution protects freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom of assembly but both these
rights come with justifiable limitations in the interests of national security, public safety and public order. “These limitations must never be used to quell dissenting opinions and must be proportionate to the goal of protecting human rights. All expression, dissenting or otherwise needs to be within the bounds of law and promote democratic values,” Mr Raj said. The premises of National Federation Party were also searched by Police officers yesterday. Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry is also expected to be questioned. He is said to be in Lautoka. First to be taken in was Mr Baba followed by Mr Dakuvula. Mr Singh was brought to the Totogo Police Station next, followed by Mr Rabuka’s arrival. Mr Prasad was brought in after officers visited his house twice. On the first visit, Mr Prasad was not at home.
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka at the Totogo Police Station yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
Lawyer Raman Pratap Singh (left) with Fiji Trades Union Congress General Secretary Attar Singh at the Totogo Police Station yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
Tupeni Baba as he was taken in for questioning at the Totogo Police Station yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
Biman Prasad, of the National Federation Party, as he was taken in for questioning at the Totogo Police Station yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
Jone Dakuvula, of the Pacific Dialogue non-government organisation as he was taken to the Totogo Police Station for questioning yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj.