20 May 2002

Fiji lawyer claims client was beaten by police

2:18 pm on 20 May 2002

A Fiji lawyer has protested to the Human Rights Commission, the police commissioner and the ministry of home affairs about alleged police brutality.

Faizal Khan of Nadi is representing Narendra Michael, who has been admitted to Lautoka hospital with injuries allegedly sustained while he was in police custody.

Mr Khan says Mr Michael's physical appearance shows excessive force was used and bruises are visible around the eyes, chest and buttocks.

As well there were the remains of chilli powder in his underwear.

His family complains that Mr Michael also suffered internal fractures.

Mr Khan says while the police have a job to do to safeguard security, he is against the excessive use of force against those in custody.

He says the 1997 constitution lays down the rights of a suspect, but the manner in which Mr Michaels was treated indicates abuse of the law.

The parents of another man arrested for the same crime, Manoa Ratunasau, are also complaining that their son was beaten with a piece of timber, kicked around and treated like an animal by police.

He is recovering in Nadi hospital.