fijiOver the past month the situation in Fiji has deterioated dramatically. The past two years since the military took power in December 2006 were bad, but now the situation is untenable. According to my count, four people have died in or after being held in military and/or police custody and dozens more have been detained and assaulted.  It was not exactly a “bloodless” coup nor is the situation as “calm” now as some portray it.

After lengthy delays some of those responsible for this violence have been convicted, but it now seems the punishment is not being served. In the absence of free media reporting, bloggers are now saying that the soldiers convicted weeks ago to four years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Sakiusa Rabaka Ligaiviu, 19, have been freed. Rabaka died on 24 February 2007, three weeks after he was detained and beaten unconscious by soldiers at Blackrock Military Base in Nadi. Human Rights Watch today sent a letter calling on the interim government to implement specific recommendations in four key areas – independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, and future elections.