18 May 2007

Fiji military continues detentions in hunt for bloggers

3:21 pm on 18 May 2007

The Fiji military has confirmed detaining a man at its barracks over anti-military blogs.

A top officer, Colonel Pita Driti, says the individual was questioned and released but denies he was assaulted by soldiers.

The Fiji Times Online says the man was taken in twice last night and kept until this morning.

Col Driti says they have names of people they will be taking in for questioning.

According to him, the suspects are from Suva and some from overseas.

Last week, a Fiji businessman was on television showing bruises he suffered after being detained by the military over its suspicion he had been linked to the bloggers.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Human Rights Commission has warned against the use of hate speech on blogspots, saying there is no constitutional protection for such activity.

The commission says it observes that blog postings, which may damage the reputation, dignity, privacy, or rights and freedoms of other individuals, are increasing on the blogs.

Its director, Dr Shaista Shameem, says such comments are unlawful and people who express them can be prosecuted under the Penal Code.

She adds the comission has advised military and police personnel about the constitutional and human rights guidelines that need to be followed when investigating blog messages and its alleged creators.