- Video believed to show soldiers punishing escaped prisoners
- Police and Amnesty International investigate footage of ‘torture’
By HUGO GYE
PUBLISHED: 05:06 EST, 7 March 2013 | UPDATED: 06:21 EST, 7 March 2013
Fiji’s soldiers have apparently been caught on camera handcuffing men and beating them with rods.
The shocking video shows one man being whacked while lying down in the back of a truck and another set upon by a vicious dog.
Human rights groups have denounced the Fijian military over the footage, which some have described as ‘torture’.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Phone: Onlookers apparently recorded the half-naked prisoners being tormented
Police in the Pacific island nation say they are investigating the incident.
The video shows men in plain clothes speaking Bauan, a Fijian dialect, hitting handcuffed prisoners with large sticks and laughing while they are tormented by a dog.
Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said police had ordered a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
‘We want to stress from the outset that no-one should prejudice this investigation by speculating on what happened,’ he told local reporters.
‘We need to formally establish the precise facts and we are determined to do so.’
He denounced some of the international coverage of the video, saying that the men in it were not in fact the escaped prisoners.
Mr Sokomuri insisted that the investigation would follow the same procedure as it would in a western country.
Scar: The video zooms in on the marks left on the men’s bodies by their beating
Amnesty International has also launched an investigation into the harrowing video, and is currently working to confirm its veracity and origins.
‘This appalling incident appears to be the latest example of abuse by the military,’ said the charity’s executive director Grant Bayldon. ‘The Fijian authorities must treat this shocking footage with the utmost seriousness and immediately initiate an independent investigation.
‘While the video is still to be verified, what is clear is that torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible must be brought to justice.’
Abuse: The Fijian military is notorious for its rough behaviour and has previously launched coup attempts
Mr Bayldon described the injuries and humiliation inflicted on the men as ‘very serious’.
He added: ‘Forced to undress and harassed by a dog, as men nearby laugh – it is difficult to watch. The subsequent brutal beating with batons is harrowing. It is torture.’