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FIJI: ‘I’ll stand by my men,’ regime leader says over torture video

March 16, 2013

Fiji PM Voreqe Bainimarama … “the prisoners … broke into a bank and terrorised the people of Fiji for two weeks.” Image: FijiVillage.com

Vijay Narayan
SUVA (FijiVillage.com / Pacific Media Watch): Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says he will stick by the security personnel of Fiji who worked tirelessly last year to ensure that prison escapees were recaptured.

In an exclusive interview with FijiVillage.com, Commodore Bainimarama said while people were speculating on who was involved in the recent video of two people getting badly beaten up by a group of men and were saying excessive force has been used, people should know that the security personnel worked hard to protect the citizens of Fiji from hardened criminals.

[Audio]

“No one has been identified but people keep referring to it as prisoners who escaped from Naboro last year. If you can remember that story, they broke into the bank and terrorised the people of Fiji for two whole weeks. In that two weeks, I remember I was very worried about the security of the people of Fiji.

“The police are going to conduct their own investigation. These people should not forget what these guys did when they broke out of prison in those two weeks. A lot of people too don’t seem to understand what came out of the interrogation that happened during that time.

“I’m not tying that interrogation to the video but a lot of things were discovered during the interrogation of the Naboro prisoners that broke away from prison. One of them was those guys had been taught how to react during interrogation, what to say, how to plead with those people that had arrested them.

“During the arrest of those Naboro prisoners last year, we discovered that while they were still under arrest, people from inside the prison were still calling them on their phones. In other words, the Commissioner of Prisons has his work cut out for him.”

Commodore Bainimarama said investigations would be held but as the head of the government and the person responsible for the security of the nation, he had made it clear that he stood by the security personnel.

[Audio]

“At the end of the day, I will stick by my men, by the police officers or anyone else that might be named in this investigation. We cannot discard them just because they’ve done their duty in looking after the security of this nation and making sure we sleep peacefully at night.”

Commodore Bainimarama also said he is not worried about what the NGOs were saying.

[Audio]

“NGOs are paid by the international community to jump up and down every time we do something. That’s their job, they’re paid to do that by the people that fund them. I really don’t think we should worry too much about what the NGOs say in instances such as this. These guys, the security people do their work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to look after the security and the safety of the NGOs such as those that are talking now.”

Fiji police Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri making a statement about the torture video case this week … no questions were allowed. The video reportedly shows escaped prisoner Iowane Benedito, 24, who escaped from Korovou prison in Suva with three others on the evening of 18 November 2012. He had been serving sentences for eight previous convictions and was on the run for 10 days when he was captured in Nabua outside Suva. Benedito had 12 months added to his sentence for escaping from custody and damaging property when he pleaded guilty in January 2013.

Source: Republika Magazine Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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