September 29, 2012

Fiji authorities criticised over prisoner capture

Updated 28 September 2012, 17:33 AEST

A Fijian human rights group has called for an investigation into allegations recent prison escapees were brutally beaten by authorities.

The five escaped prisoners have been accused of staging several robberies while on the run. It has been reported the men are now in hospital being treated for injuries sustained during their recapture.

The Fiji Coalition on Human Rights has told local media the alleged beatings were a "gross violation of human rights".

"The rights of all people should be recognised regardless of who they are," Fiji Times quoted chairwoman Shamima Ali as saying.

The president of the United Peoples Party, Mick Beddoes, said the government had serious questions to answer.

"They're saying they don't want to apologise, they obviously are eluding to the fact that perhaps the amount of force was excessive," Mr Beddoes told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program.

"I mean nobody's condoning what the escapees have alleged to have done. And let's not forget, I'm not aware that these people have actually been found guilty of the break-ins and the activities that they are alleged to have been committed.

"Surely the due process says that they've got to be caught, brought back, and then they've got to face the full spectrum of due process."

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