14 Sep 2005

Fiji police accused of human rights violation

6:27 am on 14 September 2005

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has taken the police commissioner to the High Court for gross violations of human rights by his senior officers.

The case involves an incident in 1999 when a female employee of Suva's Village Six Cinemas found a young baby abandoned in the toilets and police accused her of being the mother.

The court was told the current director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Ravi Narayan, did not advise her of her constitutional rights to have a lawyer present and ordered that she be medically examined.

She was forcibly taken to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva here she was restrained until she was examined.

She said she only signed the consent form for the medical examination under duress because she was threatened she would be locked up if she did not.

The court was told that Dr Shiu Kumar, who is now a New Zealand resident, said in his report that there was no sign of recent birth by the complainant and that she was in a distressed state.

The director of the Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, has asked the High Court to rule that the complainant's human rights were breached and to award appropriate redress.