Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fiji: finally

In January this year, Sakiusa Rabaka was detained by Fijian soldiers as a suspected drug dealer. He and his friends were taken to a reservoir, stripped, and beaten so severely that he suffered seizures and required brain surgery. He died a month later as a result of his injuries. Yesterday, eight Fijian soldiers and a police officer were charged with his murder.

It remains to be seen whether this will actually lead to justice. The Fijian military have been uncooperative about the investigation, refusing to make soldiers available for interviews and even attempting to spirit them out of the country while the investigation was still ongoing. They've since criticised the decision to press charges, and it would not be surprising if they try to invoke their self-declared "immunity" decree, or simply force the police to drop charges at gunpoint. What's frightening is that they seemed to think there was nothing wrong at all about beating a criminal suspect to death. Which is a pointed reminder of why the military should never be allowed to pretend to be police.

The first court appearance is in a month. And hopefully then we'll see some justice for Sakiusa Rabaka.