NEWS

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission: Excessive Force Used By Police During Arrest Of Naqia Villager

Having concluded its investigations and based on the available evidence including medical records and the victim and witness statements, the Commission is of the view that there was excessive use of force during the arrest of the 32-year-old by police officers resulting in cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment.
12 May 2020 10:18
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission: Excessive Force Used By Police During Arrest Of Naqia Villager
Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has concluded its investigations into allegations of assault involving a 32-year-old man from Naqia Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu, who was thrown off a bridge by a group of police officers dressed in civilian clothing on 14 April 2020.  Pursuant to section 30 of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Act, the Commission conducted an independent investigation into the matter on its own motion with the intention of providing redress to the victim.

Having concluded its investigations and based on the available evidence including medical records and the victim and witness statements, the Commission is of the view that there was excessive use of force during the arrest of the 32-year-old by police officers resulting in cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment.

Excessive force amounting to gratuitous violence constitutes an infraction of section 11 (1) of the Fijian Constitution which expressly provides that “every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional and from cruel, inhuman, degrading or disproportionally severe treatment or punishment”. It is also contrary to section 10(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 which states that: “nothing in this section justifies the use of greater force than is reasonable in the particular circumstances of the arrest, or is necessary for the apprehension of the offender” and is an interdiction of sections 255 (a) and 275 of the Crimes Act 2009. Section 255 (a) of the Crimes Act 2009 provides that “A person commits an indictable offence if he or she, with intent to maim, disfigure or disable any person, or to do some grievous harm to any person, or to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of any person— (a) unlawfully wounds or does any grievous harm to any person by any means” while section 275 of the Crimes Act 2009 provides that “A person commits a summary offense if he or she commits an assault occasioning actual bodily harm”. Such acts of violence are also contrary to our human rights obligations under international law. International human rights instruments prescribe standards and norms for law enforcement agencies such as Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Commission has submitted its full report to the Fiji Police Force and will await the outcome of their investigations as well as instructions from the victim.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper