Alleged prison abuse claim

By Deidre Fanene 19 July 2016, 12:00AM

The family of a prisoner has turned to the media in a bid to expose what is happening within the prison.

Maria Nauer, the wife of prisoner Ropati Nauer contacted the Samoa Observer to tell of the alleged abuse, beating and the violation of human rights at the prison. 

She wants an investigation into why the authorities allow prisoners to beat other inmates.

Mrs. Nauer said her husband was detained inside the pasima when he was allegedly beaten by four other prisoners commonly referred to as the chiefs (matai) of their units.

 “Saturday is the only day that prisoners who are being locked up inside the cement wall are allowed to visit their families so me and my kids went to visit my husband,” she said. 

She did not say why her husband was being locked up in the cell.

“When we arrived at the gate the security guard told me we are not allowed to see my husband. I asked him why.

“The security guard told me that he was informed by the Office that my husband stabbed one of the prisoners with a knife. 

So I asked the security guard more questions because I wanted to get to the bottom of things.

“However, the security guard said to me he doesn’t know the reason but all he knows is that he was told by an official from the Office.”

The disappointed wife said while she was asking the guard questions, one of the prisoners called out to her and told her that her husband was beaten up by four other prisoners while inside the cement wall.

“I contacted the Commissioner of Prisons and told him about what happened and then he told the guards that my husband needs to be taken to the hospital.

"At the hospital, I saw my husband’s face. It was all bruised up and he told me that four prisoners beat him up.”

When the Samoa Observer arrived at the hospital, Ropati Nauer was with his wife and two prison guards. He was not allowed to talk to the Samoa Observer.

“But I need help please,” he yelled out as he was taken by the guards.

In the meantime, Mrs. Nauer said she wants the public to know how things are run inside the prison.

“This is not the first time something like this has happened. My husband is not the first person that has been beaten up by other prisoners.

“This is what is happening inside the prison and this is one of the reasons why many prisoners escape from there because the officials and the guards are not doing their work. They are letting these so called “matai" do the work for them.

“What I want to know is why are they letting other prisoners do their work for them? 

"They are getting paid to do their work but it seems like they are just sitting around doing nothing while other prisoners run the facility.”

The disappointed wife went on to say that she understands her husband is serving time in prison because he had done some wrongs in the past but that doesn’t give other prisoners the right to treat him the way they did.

“They are all the same, they are all prisoners and it doesn’t matter whether they are matais or not they are all prisoners so I am so disappointed with the way things are run in there.”

Contact for a comment yesterday the Prison and Correction Facility’s Spokesperson Sagaga Galu Frost confirm the incident, but denied the allegations that the prison is being run by matais.

“The matter has been referred to police for investigations because the Mr. Nauer stabbed one of the prisoners with a multi-tools knife,” he said.

Ask how a multi-tools get inside the cement wall Sagaga said those are all the things that the police are investigating.

“We left the matter to the police for their investigations so you will have to wait until it is done and for me to answer all those questions.

“However about the allegations that prison is being run by matais I say it is not true.

“You see we are all about culture and traditions and so we every prison cell they have a leader which is a matai.

“They are the ones that help out with the prisoner’s behaviours so they are like our consultant (pei ni faufautua).

“We are not perfect and we have been accused of so many things but that is one allegation that I am sure of is that we are not run by matais they are only our helpers inside the prison cell.”

By Deidre Fanene 19 July 2016, 12:00AM

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