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Fiji to investigate 'disturbing' video

Tuesday 5 Mar 2013 10:11 p.m.

Fijian authorities have confirmed police will investigate a video that appears to show recaptured prisoners being tortured by police.

It was posted on a blogsite opposed to the regime of commodore Frank Bainimarama and human rights organisations say it shows just one of many alleged acts of abuse by Fijian authorities.

The nine minute video appears to show escaped prisoners being beaten and sexually abused - most of it is too brutal to watch.

This evening, Fijian police confirmed they are investigating the video.

“Like every Fijian, we are disturbed to see the video that has emerged of what appears to be the abuse of two men, who at this stage we understand to be recaptured prisoners,” Fiji police spokesman Atu Sokomuri says.

Amnesty International wrote to Fiji's military leader Frank Bainmarama last year about men who they believe had been tortured after escaping a prison in September, but received no reply.

One of the men reportedly had to have his lower leg amputated due to his injuries.

Fijian police today denied that the prisoners in this video are the ones Amnesty International wrote about, but it's executive director in New Zealand says there are multiple allegations of torture and abuse at the hands of Fijian authorities.

“We have enough documented cases to be very concerned that there’s a pattern here and we believe that needs to be taken seriously by the Fiji government,” Amnesty executive director Grant Bayldon says.

Amnesty international's London office is now trying to verify who's in the video, and when and where it was shot.

The attackers aren't in uniform, but they do have police kit, including boots and a baton.

The victims are told "you've given us so much work...are you going to escape again".

“It’s a real wake up call to the Fiji government and really for the Pacific more widely and the New Zealand government, it really needs to ring alarm bells,” Mr Bayldon says.

And it appears the Fijian government is waking up and addressing the allegations.

“We want to stress from the outset that no-one should prejudice this investigation by speculating on what happened,” Mr Sokomuri says. “We need to formally establish the precise facts and we are determined to do so.”

The New Zealand Government is yet to comment on the video

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is in Egypt but is expected to view the video there.

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