7 Mar 2011

NZ seeks more information on alleged military beatings in Fiji

3:02 pm on 7 March 2011

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says he's deeply disturbed by allegations of beatings in Fiji.

He was responding to Amnesty International's concerns about intimidation and beatings involving a government critic, several trade unionists and a former cabinet minister.

The former minister, Samasoni Tikonisau, flew to Australia for treatment after being detained and beaten last month at a military barracks in Suva.

He is now reported to be seeking political asylum.

Mr McCully says he's seeking further information to see whether the allegations can be verified.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand's Council of Trade Unions have also expressed concern at the reports.

The Fiji authorities have declined comment about the Amnesty report.