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“Ashwin Raj, FHRADC and human rights of all in Fiji”


[Author’s note: I publish this Letter to the Editor and to FHRADC and MIDA to ensure that the public gets to read this, whether the newspapers in Fiji publish or not. Further, with any number of persons being prosecuted, convicted and jailed, for all kinds of alleged crimes in the last few years (some still going on) it is important for the Fiji public to have a better  understanding  of the nature of the prosecuting arms of the Bainimarama Government and the institutions and persons who are paid by taxpayers to safeguard their basic human rights. This article is also directed to elicit the extent of commitment of some political parties and leaders (like SODELPA) to human rights and justice for all.]

22 March 2017
Letters to the Editor
Fiji Times and Fiji Sun,
Director Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (Ashwin Raj)
FHRADC Commission Members (Justice Mohammed Ajmeer, Faiz Khan, Selina Lee Wah)
Director of Public Prosecutions (Mr Christopher Pryde)

Dear Sir

It is encouraging to see that Mr. Ashwin Raj the Director of FHRADC (and Chairman of MIDA) is proactive in wishing to right the wrongs of some of the “institutionalized racism” of the past, an objective which I share.

By this Letter to the Editor, I request Ashwin Raj and the Commissioners of the FHRADC, and the Director of Public Prosecutions,  to inform the Fiji public whether they are investigating the denial of the most important human right of all- the right to life-  of the following five CRW soldiers who died under questioning, while they were in the custody of the RFMF following the mutiny in 2000: Selesitino Kalounivale, Jone Davui, Epeneri Bainimoli, Lagani Rokowaqa and Iowane Waseroma.

Raj, the Commissioners of the FHRADC and the DPP, might wish to

1. Interview the senior military officer (Viliame Seruvakula) who was apparently responsible for arresting these five soldiers and handed them into police custody at the Nabua Police Station;

2. interview the senior military officer (Jone Baledrokadroka) who was apparently responsible for signing them out of police custody and into military custody, taking them to the Stanley Brown Naval Base where the RFMF Commander (Bainimarama) was then located;

3. interview the senior army officer who ordered them to be taken to Nabua army barracks and be questioned in order to find out who were the instigators of the 2000 mutiny;

4. interview the soldiers who physically interrogated the five CRW soldiers and eventually delivered the bodies to the CWM Hospital;

5. read the very clear judgement of resident magistrate Ajmal Gulab Khan in the Workman’s Compensation Act case brought by Mrs Kalounivale, explaining the chain of events that led to the death of Kalounivale;

6. read the autopsy report by Australian pathologist Professor Stephen Cordner;

7. interview Father Akauola who tended to the tortured soldiers in their dying moments;

8. read (if they can find it) the Police Investigation Report into the torture and death of the five soldiers;

9. interview former FRMF officer Kaci Solomone who headed the court martial of the CRW soldiers accused in the mutiny and also Judge Advocate Graeme Leong;

10. interview the CRW soldiers involved in the mutiny and those (including some current SODELPA leaders and some former RFMF officers) who were named by Captain Shane Stevens (the leader of the mutiny) as  being instigators or supporters of the mutiny;

11. interview former Police Commissioner (Andrew Hughes) who stated in an ABC interview that the Fiji Police were close to laying charges against several individuals associated with these deaths.

12. interview the  UN which is not only an avowed global defender of basic human rights but who are currently employing some former RFMF and police officers who are alluded to in Questions 1, 2, 10 and 11 above.

13. interview the Fiji Law Society and UN as to their august views on amnesty provisions in the 2013 Fiji Constitution and their applicability to the five deaths referred to above.

As Chairman of the FHRADC (Justice Ajmeer) will no doubt appreciate, these five CRW soldiers were presumed innocent until proven guilty by the Fiji courts (some undoubtedly were innocent).

Only Ashwin Raj and the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission can provide closure to the still grieving families of the five CRW soldiers who were killed in  military custody in 2000 without trial, judge or jury.

Raj and the FHRADC can reassure the Fiji public that they are ready to defend the human rights of everyone in Fiji, whether they are powerful (like Madam Nazhat Shameem) or weak, like these forgotten deceased CRW soldiers.

In case Raj might feel inclined to label this letter also as “vitriolic diatribe” from “self-selected moral entrepreneurs and armchair critics” (The Fiji Times, March 18, 2017) I remind him of a well-known saying supported by all world religions: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mathew 25:40, New International Version).

Current SODELPA and Bainimarama Government (Fiji First Party) leaders  might also wish to explain to the Fiji public why none of them are demanding a Commission of Inquiry into the 2000 coup and the 2000 mutiny, which resulted in the above gross injustices, shoved under the carpet for the last seventeen years.

I cc this Letter to Editor also to Mr. Ashwin Raj as Chairman of MIDA in the faint hope that he will encourage the two newspapers to publish this letter as an indication that he will not be influenced by any conflict of interest in his two important positions as Chairman of MIDA and CEO of FHRADC.

Yours sincerely

Professor Wadan Narsey

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