Father Appeals to Ombudsman to transfer his son under Police custody

Lagi Keresoma

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PHOTO: Sooau Vaa Brown and his wife Maylynn Brown

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 07 MAY 2019: The father of a teenager in police custody at the Tafaigata prison is appealing to the Ombudsman’s Office to transfer his son from prison to the police holding cells in the Apia to await his appearance in Court.

In a letter to the Ombudsman dated 3 May 2019, So’oau Va’a Brown said he does not trust the security at the Samoa Prison Correction Services (SPCS) and is concerned about the well-being of his son Alex.

Alex was one of seven who were in custody that tried to escape from Tafaigata prison last week and while six have been caught, one is still at large.

So’oau alleges his son was beaten by other prisoners in the presence of the prison officials and had since lodged a complaint which is currently investigated by police.

“I fear that this matter being investigated will only cause him more harm and that he will be subjected to more mistreatment,” said So’oau.

According to SPCS Deputy Commissioner, Levaopolo Rosa Toese, Alex will appear in Court next week on charges of unlawful break in and entry and the additional charge of trying to escape from prison.

So’oau has listed 7 reasons in his complaint such as Alex being held naked in the high security unit and being physically assaulted by guards and inmates.

Being an ex-prisoner himself, he claims this to be reason for restricting him and his wife to visit his son in prison.

After lodging a complaint with the police last Thursday, So’oau was able to see his son at the Apia police station.

After that meeting, he decided to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office.