Fiji Corrections Service Denies Allegations of Prisoner Assault

The Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) has firmly denied allegations that inmates Manasa Rokotuiveikau and Irami Ceinaturaga were assaulted at Naboro Maximum Prison, calling the claims “unfounded.”

The allegations surfaced when lawyer Niko Nawaikula, representing SWN Advocacy, lodged a complaint on Saturday, May 25, 2024, insisting that the inmates were seriously assaulted on Thursday, May 23, 2024. He posted the same on social media site Facebook.

According to Nawaikula, the inmates were attacked in the receiving detention block by four officers,and were left without medical attention, sustaining head and facial wounds.

“This report is serious because the Correction Act that regulates prisons forbids any form of assault against prisoners, and our Constitution forbids degrading treatment of prisoners,” Nawaikula stated.

He requested an investigation and special visits to ensure the inmates’ safety, copying the report to the Attorney General Siromi Turaga.

However, FCS Commissioner Dr. Jalesi Nakarawa denied these claims.

“Investigations carried out reveal that no such assault took place, and the allegation is unfounded,” Dr. Nakarawa said.

He also voiced his disappointment that Nawaikula went public with the allegations without verifying with the FCS, which he said could cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the institution’s integrity.

“The FCS will be responding to Mr. Nawaikula with our concerns regarding his actions. We would like to remind all parties that options for legal redress are always available for the dissemination of false information,” Dr. Nakarawa added.

The FCS reiterated its commitment to transparency and upholding the rights and safety of all inmates.

In his statement Nawaikula also highlighted the need for prison reforms that prioritise rehabilitation over punishment.

“Prisoners exist at the very outer periphery of society with the poor and other outcasts. But changes in our laws are giving emphasis to reform as opposed to punishment,” he said.

Photo: FCS

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