Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fiji: no 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 for the amusement of soldiers. One of them, Sakiusa Rabaka, was beaten so badly he died. In March, eight soldiers and a former police officer were sentenced to four years' imprisonment for their role in the killing. But word is now emerging on the Fijian blogs that thanks to the military's abrogation of the constitution, those murdering torturers have been released.

And so the Fijian military protects its own. It's not the first time - Bainimarama himself ordered the release of his son-in-law, Commander Francis Kean, after he had been convicted of manslaughter for beating someone to death at a wedding. But the precedent it sets is astounding. Thanks to the coup, Fiji's military thugs are now above the law, able to beat, rape, torture and kill with impunity.

And the Maori Party thinks these people are merely "misunderstood" and that we should negotiate with them? Would they negotiate with the torturers of Abu Ghraib as well?