17 Dec 2015

Opposition MP says Fiji still a dictatorship

11:22 am on 17 December 2015

A member of Fiji's parliamentary opposition says Fiji's government is still operating like a dictatorship.

Ratu Isoa Tikoca's comments come after a parliamentary standing committee was stopped from looking into allegations members of the security forces had tortured and threatened colleagues and family members of lawyer Aman Ravindrah-Singh.

Fiji AG insists on committee ban of torture talk

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has restated that a complaint about violence must be reported to the police before it is referred to any other institution.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum made the comment to FBC News as he is being challenged over the legal basis for his objection to the parliamentary committee discussing claims of abuse.

Fiji's Finance Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Photo: Supplied

After a call from Mr Aiyaz-Khaiyum, the committee deliberations were abandoned, with him saying the committee has no expertise in receiving complaints on such matters.

Mr Ravindra-Singh has asked where it says that the committee has to await a complaint to the police.

An opposition committee member, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says reporting the matter to the police will stop the committee, adding his concern that investigations can then last a hundred years.

Ratu Isoa says it is yet another example of Mr Khaiyum claiming authority over institutions when, in a functioning democracy, he would have no jurisdiction.

"He crosses bounds from the executive level parliament into the judiciary. I have tabled in parliament documentary evidence of what he is doing to this nation by not honouring the separate authorities that should actually assist governance in a democratic manner"

Ratu Isoa Tikoca says Mr Sayed Khaiyum should resign from the attorney general's post.

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

He says he is to lodge a complaint shortly.

Several police and military personnel face charges of rape and sexual assault.

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