February 11, 2009

Rabaka Case begins

In abiding by the protocols of these legal proceedings and in deference to the S-word , here is today’s update.

Forced sex
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SOLDIERS forced a group of men to perform oral sex on a friend while they were tortured in a military camp two years ago.

Giving evidence in the trial of a police officer and seven soldiers accused of murdering Sakiusa Rabaka, Votualevu resident Josua Saunaqali told the court of the torture.

Saunaqali said he was subjected to military torture. He was ordered to strip to his underwear and perform oral sex. During the examination in chief by State lawyer Wilisoni Kuruisaqila, Saunaqali said he and three friends including Rabaka, were taken to the Black Rock camp on the night of January 24, 2007, on suspicion of buying marijuana.

Saunaqali said it was not the first time he had gone to Black Rock as he had been taken there earlier in the day and subjected to similar treatment.

At Black Rock, Saunaqali said they were told to strip to their underwear and made to run to three points at which three of the accused were waiting to whip them.

When they failed to keep up with the pace, they were beaten. They were made to duck-walk carrying a piece of timber. They were also made to crawl on their stomachs without using their arms.

While all that was going on, Saunaqali said the beating and kicking continued.

He said it was obvious Rabaka was not able to stand the torture.

The court heard Rabaka was groaning in pain but the accused continued to torture him.

Saunaqali said they pleaded with the accused to stop torturing Rabaka because he was just a young boy but their pleas appeared to fall on deaf ears. Saunaqali said at one stage, when he could not complete the drill, one of the accused, Patrick Nayacalagilagi, came and kicked his chin.

"I saw stars," he said. And then they were told to have their shower.

"They told us that drinking on Sunday was not allowed," Saunaqali said.

He said that was when a vehicle arrived with one of their friends in it. He was unconscious.

Saunaqali said Nayacalagilagi ordered him and another friend to perform oral sex on their unconscious friend.

He said he recognised rugby player Napolioni Naulia as part of the squad.

After that they were taken to Namaka Police Station where they were made to wait for hours.

At the station, Saunaqali and Rabaka were told to sleep in the police bure while their friend, Alekisio Ratuvou, was forced to drink yaqona with the policemen.

They did not go home until 5am on January 25.

Before they went home, Saunaqali said Nayacalagilagi, who had taken down their statement, read it back to them and tore it up right before their eyes before throwing into a rubbish bin.

"He warned us that if we told anybody of what happened at Black Rock, they would come after us. He told us there was nothing we could do about it as it was covered under the amnesty."

Saunaqali, when cross-examined by defence lawyer Haroon Ali Shah, said he did not report the incident or tell anyone about it.

He said it was about a month later when police came to him about Rabaka that he gave his statement of the account of the day in question.

The trial of before Justice Daniel Goundar resumes today.

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