NEWS

Police To Probe Claims Of Beating

  Police are 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
07 Nov 2016 11:00
Police To Probe Claims Of  Beating
Isaac Mathew James Photo: Faith Grace

 

Police are 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 investigations.

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 nephew 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 Commissioner and told him they have arrested 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, Eelenoa Suguta, who is James’ mother, have lodged a complaint with the Police Internal investigation team at the Fiji Police headquarters in Suva.

“We didn’t know about the beating until Isaac called in asking if we could send his clothes for his appearance in court,” Ms Grace said.

“In code words, he told me that what happened to him at Nakasi Police Station 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 consciousness.

Ms Grace also claimed that James was not fed, given water to drink or assisted with medical help at the Nakasi Police Station.

However, these claims have been refuted by Fiji Police Force chief of operations, 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 custody,” 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 judgment,” 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 allegations of Police brutality would be investigated and appropriate action taken if they were found to be true.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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