2 Mar 2011

Amnesty reports Fiji military beatings of young people

2:28 pm on 2 March 2011

Amnesty International says young people have become the latest victims of violence and intimidation by the Fiji military.

The human rights organisation says on Saturday seven young men were reportedly tortured and ill-treated by the military because they had been discussing plans for a demonstration on Friday.

It says human rights activists and family members who asked for their release were also beaten at the army barracks in Suva and were warned the young men would be killed if they spoke to anyone about their treatment.

Amnesty International New Zealand's chief executive Patrick Holmes says they're receiving reliable information of an increased military presence

"Increased intimidation, particularly of young people in and around Suva. What we think we're seeing there is maybe the authorities gearing up to ensure that there's no repetition of youth activists in other parts of the world, such as we've seen in the Middle East and North Africa at the moment."

Patrick Holmes says at least ten politicians, trade unionists, government critics and others have been arrested and subjected to severe beatings and torture in the last two weeks by the military.