Fiji army beating 'kills fourth man'

Another man has been killed by Fiji's military, according to an internet site run by journalists monitoring alleged human rights abuses following last year's coup.

If confirmed, the death would be the fourth in the country attributed to the military since its December 5 overthrow of the democratically elected government.

Fiji's military has already been accused of being responsible for the death of 32-year-old salesman John Whippy on New Year's Eve, land surveyor Nimilote Verebasaga, 41, in January, and 19-year-old Sakiusa Rabaka who died last month.

The latest death was reported on the Intelligentsiya weblog (, a site published by a group of Fijian journalists concerned about human rights abuses.

Intelligentsiya said the man died late last month in hospital from injuries allegedly sustained during an attack by military forces after a drug raid on his village in the east of Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island.

The report came as Fiji's Human Rights Commission (FHRC) confirmed it was investigating Rabaka's death.

FHRC director Dr Shaista Shameem said steps were being taken to investigate the death in accordance with the group's statutory duties.

The Fijilive online news service said police were also investigating Rabaka's death, with six soldiers to be questioned.

Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer last week said he had referred alleged human rights abuses in Fiji to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Downer reportedly said the Fiji police and judiciary had been compromised, making it difficult for citizens to report military abuses.

The FHRC's Shameem said she was not aware of allegations of a fourth death blamed on the military.

The FHRC was investigating 19 complaints lodged since December 5, which was on par with the same time frame before the coup.