Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mara the torturer?

Renegade Fijian Colonel Tevita Mara arrived in Auckland last night on a trip to whip up support for democracy in Fiji. Unfortunately, his past as a member of the regime has caught up with him: the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji has filed a complaint of torture against him, and the police are now investigating. New Zealand is a party to the Convention Against Torture, and therefore has an obligation to properly investigate any complaint. The fact that the alleged acts of torture occurred in Fiji is not a problem; as a civilised country (and in accordance with CAT), we claim extraterritorial jurisdiction over such crimes. If convicted, Mara could face up to 14 years imprisonment.

I have not been able to obtain a copy of the CDF's complaint, but it must be properly investigated, and if there is a case against Mara then he must be brought to justice. We cannot look the other way on torture, no matter what "side" someone claims to be on.