Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fiji: justice for Sakiusa Rabaka

In January 2007, a month after the Fijian coup, a group of men were detained by the Fijian army on suspicion of buying marijuana. They were taken to a military camp where they were stripped, beaten, and forced to rape one another. One of them, Sakiusa Rabaka, was beaten so badly he died. Today, eight soldiers and a former police officer were sentenced to four years' imprisonment for their role in the killing. There has been justice for Sakiusa Rabaka at last.

At least, justice of a sort. because while they were convicted and sentenced in a court of law - an opportunity Rabaka and his fellow victims never had - the judge downplayed the seriousness of the offending:

Justice Goundar said in meting out the sentence he took into account the fact the offences were not the worst of its kind and fell in the medium range of sentence for manslaughter and lower scale of the tariff for assault.
Right, so a systematic eight-hour torture session involving beatings and sexual assault is on the "lower scale". And the fact that the offenders were agents of the state is considered to be a mitigating rather than aggravating factor. It really makes you wonder what they would consider to be "serious"...