20 Jul 2011

NZ based Fiji pro-democracy group want NZ police to investigate Mara

11:35 am on 20 July 2011

The New Zealand-based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji is pushing for a former senior Fiji military officer to be investigated by New Zealand Police for his role in alleged torture.

The coalition's filed a criminal complaint about alleged torture against Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

It is understood that Colonel Mara has arrived in New Zealand as part of his regional tour to discuss conditions in Fiji where he faces sedition charges.

Colonel Mara fled Fiji in May aboard a Tonga navy vessel and was given a Tonga passport.

The Coalition's Nik Naidu says the NZ Crimes of Torture Act (1989) provides for prosecution of Colonel Mara

"I don't think this Act's been tested but it is something that New Zealand has been party to internationally as well, it sign. So we are asking for the police and government to act, it's a moral obligation , we are a country that has stood up internationally against these sort of crimes against humanity, this sort of people should not be welcomed to New Zealand and is also should be a message for Fiji as that crimes against the people is not acceptable.:"

Nik Naidu.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed officials will meet with Colonel Mara tomorrow at his request.

The Ministry declined to go into the details of what will be discussed.

Meanwhile, a former Fiji police officer who is now a refugee in New Zealand says it is important Colonel Mara visit this country.

Josaia Rasiga heads the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement group invited Colonel Mara to visit New Zealand.

We are not supporting the part he played during the coup, but we are supporting the change that he has taken via various information, so it would be an ideal situation good for him to come over and brief us.

Josaia Rasiga from the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement.