19 Apr 2012

Fiji police ready to probe unionists' alleged beating

6:25 pm on 19 April 2012

Fiji police say the Trades Union Congress general secretary Felix Anthony is more than welcome to lodge a complaint about allegations that some union officials have been beaten.

The Director Operations, Rusiate Tudravu, has told local radio that they stand ready to look into the allegations and will investigate the matter thoroughly.

Last July, Mr Anthony said he was punched and kicked by at least five soldiers, leaving him with a damaged eardrum and bruising.

He said another union representative, Mohammed Khalil, was also beaten by military officers outside a sugar mill in view of the workers.

The military denied the allegations, with its spokesman saying if the complainants can give proof of an assault, it should be to the police.

The Information Ministry said it couldn't make any comments regarding the military.

At a recent Commonwealth meeting, Australia's foreign minister said Fiji needed to implement promises over the restoration of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Last year, Amnesty International called for the Fiji regime to stop the arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of critics and activists.