10 Feb 2009

Eight soldiers and a policeman charged with murder appear in Fiji court

9:21 am on 10 February 2009

The trial of eight soldiers and a policeman charged with the murder of a Fiji youth two years ago has commenced in the High Court in Lautoka.

The men have pleaded not guilty to murdering Sakiusa Rabaka, then 19, and four counts of assault occasioning bodily harm.

They are Joeli Lesavua, Jona Nareki, Patrick Nayacalagilagi, Taione Lua, Napolioni Nauli, Ulaiasi Radike, Etonia Nadura, Ratunaisa Toutou and Ilaisa Kuruimavua.

They are alleged to have bashed up Mr Rabaka on January 28, 2007 after they picked him from his house in Votualevu, Nadi and took him to the nearby Blackrock Army camp site.

Mr Rabaka died a few days later from the injuries he sustained during his arrest.

Fiji Live online says his mother, Alanieta, was among the first to testify today at the High Court in Lautoka.