Worried relative asks: Where is love and justice?

A family member of Samoa’s notorious prisoners, Tagaloasa Filipaina and Ovaleni Poli, has questioned why it has taken so long for her relatives to be taken back to Tafa’igata Prison.

Muni Nuialii Faleautō, 71, of Fasitoo Tai is an unhappy woman.

She is the eldest sister of notorious criminal, Tagaloasa Filipaina.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Ms. Faleautō said she doesn’t understand why it has taken long for the Ministry of Police to return her brother and her nephew back to Tafaigata Prison.

“The Court case is finished now and the decision was in favor of my brother and my nephew,” she said.

“The Police station is not a prisoner so I just don’t understand why it is taking the Commissioner of Police so long to release them back to Tafaigata.

“Where is the love and the justice in this?

“It’s not like we are asking them to release them, no we are only asking to release them back to Tafaigata prison where he should be to serve his time.

“What is the charge that’s keeping them at the Police station for so long, a Police station is not a prison and yet they are still there. 

“The police have no proof of whether my brother and my nephew were the ones that planned that mass breakout of prisoners, so they should be return to Tafaigata.”

She added the treatment is unfair.

“At Tafaigata he is a very well respected man there,” she said.

“He helps with the discipline of other prisoners and the guards as well as the Commissioner of Prison rely on him and yet his being mistreated.

“At Tafaigata, he gets to go out from his cell but where he is at all they do is eat and sleep the whole day and that is making him sick.

“When he was at Tafaigata, we get to visit him for two hours and be able to talk to him but at the Police station, we are only allowed five minutes with him, which is very unfair.

“When I visited him last week, he looked very sick, even the food that we give him he doesn’t eat and he told me he’s tired and felt sick. 

“That place is like a dying place for him because he doesn’t go out they stay in those rooms the whole day.

“It makes me angry with the way this matter is being handled all we are asking is for them to be returned to Tafaigata.

“We are not saying to let them go, no they are serving their time in prison and they will be there for a long time but it’s just sad.

“He misses his family and children and there is not enough time to see him, we don’t know where else to go or who to turn to.

“We asked the Police why it is taking so long for them to go back to Tafaigata, but we were told that the Minister of Police has ordered them to serve their time at the Police station.”

Ms. Faleauto added their family is suffering because of this and all she wants is for her brother and her nephew to be taken to Tafaigata Prison. 

Last month, the Minister of Prisons and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, declared the Apia Police Station as a prison to satisfy the legal aspect of housing Tagaloasa and in Apia. 

The Order was signed by Tialavea on 3 May 2018. 

 “In consideration of the fact that the following buildings and places were being used as prisoners before the commencement of the Prison and Corrections Act 2013 on 01 January, 2015, the Commencement date and pursuant to section 16 (1) of the Prisons and Corrections Act 2013, do hereby appoint as prisons the following buildings and places,” the Order reads. 

 “The building situated and known as the Apia Police Station together with the building and land used in connection therewith. 

 “The building at Aleipata in Upolu known as the Aleipata Police Post and the building and land sued in connection. 

 “The building at Leulumoegag in Upolu known as the Poutasi Police Post, Tuasivi in Savaii and Falelima Police Post in Savaii.”

The matter is in relation to the ongoing saga involving two notorious convicts who had been moved to the Apia Police Station after a failed mass prison break plan last year.

The declaration follows a legal opinion provided by the Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff.

He recommended that the prisoners can still be detained in the Apia Police station “until the actual case is heard by the Court and a definite determination is given as the lawfulness or otherwise of their detention at Apia Police station.”

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