The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has found that police employed excessive use of force resulting in cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment in the arrest of a 32-year-old man from Naqia, Wainibuka.

The man was allegedly assaulted and thrown off a bridge by a group of police officers dressed in civilian clothing on April 14th.

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj says their investigations was based on the available evidence including medical records and victim and witness statements.

He says pursuant to section 30 of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Act, the Commission conducted an independent investigation into the matter on its own motion with the intention of providing redress to the victim.

Raj says excessive force amounting to gratuitous violence constitutes an infraction of section 11 (1) of the Fijian Constitution which expressly provides that “every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhuman, degrading or disproportionally severe treatment or punishment.

Raj further says such acts of violence are also contrary to our human rights obligations under international law.

He adds international human rights instruments prescribe standards and norms for law enforcement agencies such as Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Commission has submitted its full report to the Fiji Police Force and will await the outcome of their investigations as well as instructions from the victim.

Meanwhile police reiterates the investigation file is with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for independent legal advice.

The file was sent last week and they will issue further comments once the file is returned.

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