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Poll Rape Threat

A Lautoka resident has revealed that she received rape threats from a fake  Facebook account because she supported FijiFirst. Ashiana Begum, 30, a resident of Field 40, Lautoka, said perpetrators
01 Nov 2018 11:59
Poll Rape Threat
FijiFirst supporter Ashiana Begum speaks out during the party’s campaign at Field 40, Lautoka, on October 30, 2018. Ms Begum, who is a loyal and vocal FijiFirst supporter, said someone using a fake Facebook account had threatened to rape her two daughters, aged one and six years respectively, if she continued to support the FijiFirst party. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

A Lautoka resident has revealed that she received rape threats from a fake  Facebook account because she supported FijiFirst.

Ashiana Begum, 30, a resident of Field 40, Lautoka, said perpetrators warned they were going to rape her two daughters if she continued to support FijiFirst.

She spoke about it at a FijiFirst campaign meeting at Field 40 on Tuesday attended by FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Ms Begum said she was very vocal about FijiFirst on social media because she was a big supporter.

She said the fake account user targeted her, probably because that person was anti-FijiFirst.

“I have been supporting FijiFirst from the beginning and if people talk about the party I would obviously go against them,” she said.

“If people want to talk so much, they should have the guts to do it in our faces because we are giving comments from our real personal profiles whereas they are hiding behind the computer.”

Ms Begum said there were numerous fake accounts and forums on social media.

“There are plenty of forums on social media and one is the Fiji Exposed Forum.

“Can there be a control on these fake accounts because if I personally report this person, this fake account on Facebook they don’t do much because at the end of the day it is our kids that we look after.”

She said her daughters were aged one and six.

“He has threatened me that he is going to rape them so please can the government intervene with these fake accounts,” she said.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Co-ordinator, Shamima Ali said the issue was unacceptable and disturbing.

“The cybercrimes unit should get onto this and catch the culprit,” she said.

“Unfortunately, Fiji has a history of such heinous threats during political crises and times such as this.

“Human rights activists, including myself and my 11-year-old niece, were threatened during the various coups with rape, but threatening children is the lowest one can stoop.

“Everyone has the right to vote for the party of their choice, let us all respect that basic tenet.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was unfortunate that nothing could be done at the moment. However, the issue would be taken into consideration from January 1, 2019 when the new Online Safety Act would be in place.

“We introduced this new law. When we introduced this bill the National Federation Party (NFP) people said ‘you are trying to curtail the freedom of expression’, what nonsense,” he said.

“Unfortunately we can’t do anything about it now but from January 1 yes we can.”

He also acknowledged Ms Begum for her bravery in standing up and raising her concerns on the issue.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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