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October 4, 2014

Silence no more

Timoci Vula And Shalveen Chand
Saturday, October 04, 2014

A RETIRED teacher who made headlines in the past two days over allegations that he was arrested and assaulted has finally broken his silence.

In a signed statement sent to this newspaper yesterday, Josefa Bilitaki, 60, related last Friday night’s visit by a group of officers at his Qauia home in Lami, and the events leading up to his hospitalisation at the CWM Hospital in Suva.

In his letter, Mr Bilitaki also confirmed the Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald visited him at the hospital on October 1 and assured him of police protection.

On September 26, Mr Bilitaki said he awoke about 10pm when a policeman told him that some officers were outside to take him to the “station” over text messages he allegedly sent out earlier that day. He said he could not recall what he did or said and regrets his actions.

He claimed there were four officers, and he claimed the police officer who accompanied them told one of his daughters they were military intelligence officers.

“I got dressed and they brought me to a place I do not recall as I was very frightened. There were four trucks (twin cabs). They parked and asked me to come out. They ordered me to board another vehicle where I was told to get into the back seat,” Mr Bilitaki claimed in the letter.

He claimed he was later assaulted.

He said the officers then took him to Totogo Police Station where he was locked up in a cell.

He claimed police officers were concerned about his condition.

Mr Bilitaki claimed on Saturday afternoon, he was feeling weak and requested to be taken to the hospital where medical officers took his blood pressure and ECG, and administered medical treatment for five hours before he was admitted to the Paying Ward.

He claimed he was never interviewed by police nor had been asked to give a statement.

However, Mr Bilitaki said: “He (Mr Groenewald) assured me that the police will do everything in their powers to protect my life and asked me to get better and not to worry about anything. Another senior officer was with him, witnessed by my two daughters – Dominika and Vasemaca Bilitaki.”

When contacted, Mr Groenewald said all comments regarding this matter would be made after the investigation has concluded and a report submitted to the Defence Minister.

Section 17(c) of the Public Order Act allows a member of the RFMF to perform all or any of the duties and functions of a prisons officer or police officer at the request of or with the concurrence of the Commissioner of Police.

 

 

Source – The Fiji Times; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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