May 14, 2007

Army says blogs pose threat to 'national security'

The military has reserved the right to arbitrarily detain people it suspects of being a "threat to national security" (read bloggers) and has played down the assault of detainees.

Army spokesman Major Neumi Leweni was speaking after the military wrongfully detained Suva businessman Ulaiasi Taoi in relation to blogs critical of the interim government.

Taoi was held for 24 hours at Queen Elizabeth Barracks from Friday afternoon and subjected to bashings, verbal abuses and humiliation. Read his account to the Fiji Times here.

He said up to eight soldiers punched him up in a cell and that he was only in his underwear for most of the time. On Saturday morning, he was asked to remove his underwear and left naked in the cell for several hours, before being released.

Taoi, the president of the Fiji Indigenous Business Council, was questioned over his alleged links to ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the SDL party.

The army suspected Taoi of being prominent anti-junta and fellow Freedom Blogger Fijian Black who remains safe and free, last we heard.

Taoi will file complaints against the military this week or next to police and the Fiji Human Rights Commission, he says.

You have to wonder about how effective the military's "intelligence unit" is if innocent businessmen are picked up and showered with accusations and punches. Taoi admits to reading the blogs but also admits his IT knowledge doesn't extend to being able to leave a comment on the blogs - let alone maintaining one.

Taoi also told his story to Fiji TV over the weekend, and the story was picked up by the international media.

Dr Roberto Ridolfi and your EU delegation please take note of the continuing blatant breaches of the commitments given to your officials in Brussels.


Anonymous said...

It is pathetic how Driti is trying to use the "good cop, bad cop" routine and coming in at the end acting as if he knew nothing of the affair. Since it was him that started the whole chain of events with the abusive phone call to Taoi, you can be rest assured he knew very well that Taoi was going to be brought in and beaten. He was conveniently 'away' so to seem to appear as an innocent party. It would seem to appear from this that any indigenous fijian with IT knowledge is in danger of being hauled in on 'blogger' suspicion.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Army is right.

Anonymous said...

I very much admire your courage in trying to get the word out to the world on abuses by Fiji's military regime. And I further commend you for your commitment to non-violence. I very much hope that there will soon be a peaceful transition back to democracy in Fiji. I hope that the regime will not be successful in stopping you from publishing - I expect you will be able to continue from another site even if they block access to entirely. I'm lucky enough to live under democracy, and hope I never have to fight to regain it. Good luck; I hope the regime falls soon.

Anonymous said...

Ulai, God is watching, whatever happened in there, up there, who did what or what,....every dog has its day. They will know that they have violated your freedom and right as a citizen of fiji. The day shall come.Every man woman and child has a right to his godgiven freedom and birthright. No one has the right to take that away. Keep the faith Ulai..God is Great!! Those disrespectful ones will get it one day.

Anonymous said...

Army is right, the blogs are indeed a hinderance to the work that is done by people (not only IG) to take the country forward. the blog sites are only holding us back with their negativity. It is high time these blog sites are shut down.

Anonymous said...

To anon above: based on the same principle: cant we say that every dog is having his dday now. I mean what the RFMF is doing is punishing the dogs, so every dog indeed has its day.