Human rights body wants inquiry

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Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) chairperson Pravesh Sharma. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission is asking for an independent investigation into the death of an elderly woman at the Ba Police Station last weekend.

Commission chairperson Pravesh Sharma said they were concerned the woman was not provided with medical treatment while in police custody.

“Police need to be mindful that caution interviews are stressful for the persons being interviewed and more so for elderly persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” said Mr Sharma.

“Before commencing a caution interview, the interviewing officer should ask the person being interviewed, whether he or she is medically fit to continue with the interview.

“If the person advises that he or she is not fit, then the person should be taken to hospital and the interview deferred.”

Mr Sharma said the commission acknowledged that police were empowered to receive complaints, investigate, interview, arrest, and charge persons.

“However, in carrying out such functions, the police have to ensure that the rights of accused persons are respected and complied with,” he said Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the incident was under investigation by the Internal Affairs Unit.

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