Po­lice to Probe Claims of Beat­ing

Fam­ily of Lau­toka car­jack­ing ac­cused has lodged report of al­leged Po­lice bru­tal­ity de­spite safety as­sur­ance from Qil­iho

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - ASHNA KU­MAR

Po­lice a re now con­duct­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cern­ing the al­leged beat­ing of the eighth car­jacker ac­cused in Lau­toka, Isaac Mathew James. This comes de­spite as­sur­ances given to the fam­ily of the ac­cused by Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Si­tiveni Qil­iho that James would be safe. James was turned in by the fam­ily af­ter Po­lice had sought their as­sis­tance to lo­cate him. It is al­leged that James was in­volved in a car­jack­ing in­ci­dent out­side a shop at Kash­mir, Lau­toka, which was cap­tured by the shop’s CCTV cam­eras. On Oc­to­ber 27, Po­lice

re­leased a state­ment thank­ing James fam­ily for co-op­er­at­ing with their in ves­ti­ga­tions. Now James’ aunty, Faith Grace, who is a high school teacher, claims the Com­mis­sioner’s as­sur­ances were not fol­lowed. Ms Grace said: “I turned in my neph ew only be­cause I was as­sured of his safety.” Af­ter his ar­rest, James was taken in for his in­ter­view along with his un­cle Mark Naiso­go­niceva. “When they got down in the van, one of the Po­lice of­fi­cers called the Com mis­sioner and told him they have ar rested Isaac,” Ms Grace said. “Since the phone was on speaker my hus­band could hear them speak and heard the Com­mis­sioner say that noth­ing should hap­pen to the boy.” De­spite the or­der by Com­mis­sioner Qil­iho, Ms Grace claims of­fi­cers at the Lau­toka Po­lice sta­tion had beaten up James. Ms Grace and her younger sis­ter, Ee lenoa Suguta, who is James’ mother have lodged a com­plaint with the Po lice In­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion team at the Fiji Po­lice head­quar­ters in Suva. “We didn’t know about the beat ing un­til Isaac called in ask­ing if we could send his clothes for his ap­pear ance in court,” Ms Grace said. “In code words, he told me that what hap­pened to him at Nakasi Po­lice Sta tion hap­pened in Lau­toka as well.” At the Nakasi Po­lice Sta­tion, James is al­leged to have been beaten with a piece of wood un­til he lost con­scious ness. Ms Grace also claimed that James was not fed, given wa­ter to drink or as­sisted with med­i­cal help at the Na kasi Po­lice Sta­tion. How­ever, these claims have been re futed by Fiji Po­lice Force chief of op er­a­tions, As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Ru­si­ate Tu­dravu. He said such things can­not be done by Po­lice of­fi­cers. “We go through ad­e­quate train­ing Our of­fi­cers are not fool­ish and not give food and wa­ter to peo­ple in cus tody,” he said.

He said these al­le­ga­tions were just one side of the story.

“That is just an al­le­ga­tion and I can as­sure that we will be on top of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find out both sides of the story be­fore mak­ing any judg ment,” Mr Tu­dravu said. Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Qil­iho had told

Fiji Sun ear­lier that the Force would not con­done Po­lice bru­tal­ity un­der his watch. The Po­lice Com­mis­sioner said all al lega­tions of Po­lice bru­tal­ity would be in­ves­ti­gated and ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion taken if they were found to be true.

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