Amnesty International concerned man fighting extradition over alleged plot to assassinate Samoan PM may not get fair trial

Talalelei Pauga has been in custody for six weeks in Australia as he fights the extradition attempt.

Source: Pacific Beat

Amnesty International has raised concerns a man who is facing extradition from Australia to Samoa may not get a fair trial if he is sent to stand trial in Samoa.

Samoan-Australian Talalelei Pauga was arrested in Brisbane in August after the Samoan Government asked the Federal Attorney-General to extradite him to face a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Pauga hit the headlines when he threw a pigs head at the Prime Minister during a community function in Queensland in 2018.

Now he is wanted by the Samoan authorities over an alleged plot to assassinate the country’s Prime Minister.

Pauga was arrested in Brisbane in August after the Samoan Government asked the Federal Attorney-General to extradite him to face a charge of conspiracy to murder.

Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher Kate Schuetze said it is a worrying situation.

“The concern here with the extradition charges is that we don’t know what evidence they have to allege this person has been involved in any crime in Samoa and yet he’s been detained and held in custody,” she said.

Pauga has been in custody for six weeks and last week a Brisbane magistrate rejected his application to be released while he fights the extradition attempt.

The 43-year-old has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Ms Schuetze said that it appears the pursuit of Pauga may be politically motivated, something Australian authorities need to consider.

“Samoa is not the pillar of human rights in the region it once was,” she said.

“We’ve seen the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers communicate with the Samoan Government this year around some of their concerns about the lack of separation of power.”

Pauga is one of four men the Samoan authorities allege were involved in a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister last year, though few details have been released.

 

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