8 Aug 2012

Fiji's Anthony gives details of police complaint

11:08 am on 8 August 2012

Fiji Trades Union Congress leader Felix Anthony has rejected the interim government's claim that he did not file a complaint with police against the leader of the Fiji regime.

The Permanent Secretary of Information, Sharon Smith-Johns, says Mr Anthony has reported some members of the military but neither the Prime Minister nor the Fijian government was included in the complaint.

Mr Anthony says he detailed last month to the Lautoka Police threats and assaults against him by military officers in February last year.

"I went to the police station in Lautoka, fronted up personally and made a report. The police officer took down the report, gave me the case number. I was then called back after an hour or so and requested to give a statement on the complaint which I did. I was given two sets of medical report applications to be given to the respective hospitals where I was treated after the assault. And I have since attempted to get those medical reports."

Q: Just going back to the complaint, what was the nature of the complaint and who was it against?

The nature of the complaint was that I was assaulted by some military officers. The second part of the complaint was the threat that was made by the Prime Minister to me and my colleague. I actually named the Prime Minister and I quoted what he had actually said.

Q: So what did he say?

That may be not appropriate. My assistant general secretary was with me and we were both threatened initially by the Prime Minister.

Q: And was that just a verbal threat?


Q: You have laid other complaints of assault? And who were those against?

They were against the military officers who actually assaulted us or ordered the assaults.

Q: What did the police say in response to receiving your complaint? Did they make any remarks at all?

I am advised that they will commence investigations on the matter and will keep me informed. That's all I've been told.

Q: Now have you tried to get medical reports?

I have tried to get medical reports and I so far have been unsuccessful. The Lautoka Hospital doctors have advised that they can't seem to read what's written on my medical file in the hospital so they have refused to give me a medical report. I have lodged an application for a report from the Suva Hospital, the CWM Hospital, and I am still awaiting a response.

Q: And these hospitals are the ones that examined you?


Q: Why has it taken 18 months for you to file this report?

One was that the situation prevailing at the time when the assaults were made and when we were being continually being intimidated and harrassed. And of course I've been hauled up to the police station a number of times in the period in between. And we saw absolutely no sense in making a report because the police were not going to investigate the military. The military were a power unto themselves. They were a law unto themselves and the police were not going to act on any such report. The second reason was because there were numerous reports made to the Prime Minister, the highest officer in the military himself on this assault that had taken place. It was common knowledge that we were assaulted, we were being harrassed, we were being intimidated. But noone decided to take any action and now the commissioner has come forward and said that yes we need to make a report and we've made the report.

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

Police have declined to comment on whether they have received Mr Anthony's complaint or whether an investigation is underway, referring Radio New Zealand International's enquiries to Fiji's Permanent Secretary of Information.