20 Jul 2011

Former Fiji army colonel denies he's guilty of torture

3:25 pm on 20 July 2011

The former Fijian army colonel Tevita Mara says he would go back to Fiji if he could, but believes he would be detained and tortured.

Colonel Mara, who has been highly critical of the Fijian government since he fled earlier this year, has arrived in New Zealand and is due to meet foreign affairs officals today.

He says soldiers are as repressed as the civilian population and there is a definite split within the military, with just 50 soldiers who still support the regime.

Leilani Momoisea says Colonel Mara was surprised by allegations he was involved in torturing civilians.

"He is again denying that he is personally guilty of torture offences and says that torture did not take place under his command [he says] that those torture claims are really something that Frank Bainimarama needs to answer to, however Colonel Mara says if the police here are to question him that is sonething he's prepared for."

Leilani Momoisea.