28 Jun 2017

Anti-torture protestor released by Fiji police

5:13 pm on 28 June 2017

An anti-torture protestor in Fiji has been released after spending a second night in police cells and two days of questioning.

Jope Koroisavou after being released from police custody on 28 June 2016

Photo: Supplied/Ben Daveta

Jope Koroisavou was arrested after walking through the capital city on Monday wearing a placard with the names of six victims tortured by Fiji's security forces.

He staged the protest on the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

According to FBC News, he was arrested for an alleged breach of Section 66 and 67 of the Crimes Act which relates to sedition.

Mr Koroisavou told RNZ International no charges had so far been laid.

He said the police were very professional and he received "cordial" treatment.

"The Criminal Investigation Department was really fair and good. I felt secure and not threatened."

The arrest has drawn criticism from human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Fiji's NGO Coalition for Human Rights said the detainment highlighted growing concern over "the ambiguity of our democratic environment, particularly on people's right to peaceful protest".

"This recent detainment of a peaceful protestor is just another reminder of Fiji's commitments to the UN Convention Against Torture and that there is much still to be done by the government to uphold this global commitment," said the group's chairperson, Nalini Singh.

The Director of Fiji's Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj said he had visited Mr Koroisavou and he was in good health and had not been man handled at any time by the police.

He said it was imperative that Mr Koroisavou was not coerced into making any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against him.