16 Dec 2015

Fiji lawyer defends delay in police complaint

3:04 pm on 16 December 2015

A Fiji lawyer who's made allegations of torture against the country's security forces says he'll report the matter to the police in his own time.

Aman Ravindra-Singh says three of his associates have been attacked in recent months because he's representing dozens of people accused of sedition.

The Attorney General stopped a parliamentary committee from deliberations on the matter yesterday partly because it hadn't been reported to the police.

Mr Ravindra-Singh has defended his delay in making a formal police complaint.

"Certain people have criticised me by saying I have not reported this matter and therefore it did not happen. I think it's a load of nonsense and I'm in talks with the Commissioner of Police. Certain things have stopped me from reporting the matter in the last two weeks but the report will be placed with the police in the next day or two and the police will be given the opportunity to do their work."

Mr Ravindra-Singh says he is concerned police investigations into many incidents of torture have not been completed in the last few years.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee in Fiji is seeking legal advice on whether it can continue to investigate Mr Ravindra-Singh's allegations.

A member of the committee, opposition MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca says Mr Sayed-Khaiyum ordered chairman Netani Rika to stop the meeting because it was not legally able to discuss the issue and because the matter had not been reported to police.

But Ratu Isoa says the committee would like to continue its probe before police open their investigations.

"In terms of the legality of having to report it to the police, immediately that will stop the committee from proceeding. Once you report that, the police is given to investigate. And our fear is that investigation can last for a hundred years."

Ratu Isoa says the Attorney General's move is yet another example of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum usurping the authority of Fiji's democratic institutions.