© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Talk Shows:Listen again to your favorite talk programs on HPR-2!Local News:News features and series from HPR's award winning news departmentHPR-2 Program Schedule:find out when all your favorite programs are on the air on HPR-2! Or you can find out more from the HPR-2 detailed program listings.

Pacific News Minute: Fiji Attorney General Halts Parliamentary Inquiry into Torture

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Allegations of torture by police in Fiji are raising new questions about human rights and the government's commitment to democracy.  After the country's attorney general ordered a parliamentary investigation into the case halted, an opposition MP charged that the government is still operating like a dictatorship.  Details from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Allegations of dictatorship hit sensitive nerves in a country that only emerged from its most recent military government last year.  In this case, a lawyer named Aman Ravindra-Singh charges that plain clothes police attacked and tortured three of his associates.  One, his employee, was, he said, beaten, stomped, hit with a rod, and injected with liquid. The lawyer said he himself has repeatedly been warned that his days are numbered.  Ravindra-Singh represents a large group of people arrested earlier this year and charged with sedition in an alleged plot to form a breakaway state.

As a parliamentary committee opened a hearing on the case this week, attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Kaiyum called the committee chair to order the proceedings stopped, on grounds that the committee was not authorized to investigate any incident before it was reported to police. An opposition member of the committee, Ratu Isoa Tikoca said if it is reported, the committee would then be barred from looking into an ongoing investigation "And our fear, "he told Radio New Zealand International , "is that the investigation can last for a hundred years."

Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa  told Radio New Zealand that the country is governed by fear and intimidation and has yet to return to full democracy.  That prompted the attorney general to tell the Fiji Sun that the Opposition needs to, quote, "Stop feeding the insatiable appetite of certain media organizations in Australia and New Zealand who always portray Fiji in a negative light."

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Related Stories