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Gang rape case moves to Labasa

The case involving seven men accused of raping a 16-year-old girl has been transferred to Labasa High Court, according to the Fiji media.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said that the accused, aged between 16 and 30 years, were in custody and that they were facing rape charges.

She said that the incident occurred on January 3 around 7 pm, after the girl went with one of the suspects to look for her cousin.

“She was told to wait in a house while the suspect called the other six men. Suspecting the danger that was to befall her, she tried to flee the scene but was closed in by the seven men who took turns raping her. Medical examination of the victim has confirmed that she had been raped,” Ms Naisoro said.

She said that the police would not shy away from the no-drop-policy of violence against women and children.

“We are pleading with members of the public not to condone such crimes and to report them if they have knowledge of such things happening in their midst. Those who are involved in such crimes will be dealt with accordingly and we will not step down from our intention to see that they are taken into justice,” she said.

Dark reality

Fiji Times quoted Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali as saying that people should not be complacent “about this dark reality.”

“We had demanded the support of men throughout the country and we continue to do so for protection and safety of women. Men should learn to change their behaviour and treatment towards women and this needs to be addressed at all levels of society,” she said.

Social Welfare, Women & Poverty Alleviation Minister Dr Jiko Luveni expressed her concern over the gang rape.

“It is of grave concern that this horrendous act took place while the outcry against the gang rape and murder in India had not died down yet. This dehumanising act has plagued our society; it must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

“Women and girls throughout the world must be spared from such traumatising incidents,” Dr Luveni said.

According to her, ‘Empower Fiji’ has been offering counselling and support services to the victim through social welfare officers.

Dr Luveni asked community leaders and the public to be more vigilant and proactive.

“While the Government has provided the legal framework, there is a need for strengthened family and community support to eliminate all forms of abuse and violence against women and children,” she said.


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