Attorney General dispels Amnesty International’s concerns

The Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale.

APIA, SAMOA: The Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham Annandale has dispelled concerns by the human rights watch-dog, Amnesty International that the extradition of a Samoan man based in Australia to stand trial in Samoa is politically motivated.

Last Friday, Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher, Kate Schuetze told Pacific Beat that the man who is facing extradition may not get a fair trial if he is sent to stand trial in Samoa.

Talalelei Pauga is alleged to have committed the offence of ‘conspiracy to commit murder,’ against Samoa’s Prime Minister.

In a statement today, the Attorney General confirms that the Office made a lawful request to the Australian Attorney Generals Department in February 2020, to extradite Talalelei Pauga who is alleged to have committed the offence of ‘conspiracy to commit murder’.

‘Conspiracy to commit murder’ is a serious offence under section 106 of the Crimes Act 2013, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The Attorney General also confirms that Australia has honoured Samoa’s extradition request in accordance with its obligations under Australia’s Extradition Act 1988 and Extradition (Samoa) Regulations 2010.

The Attorney General further confirms that “Pauga is one of the principal defendants and should be tried together in Samoa, with his other two co-defendants Lema’i Faioso Sione and Malele Atofu Paulo, who have already been charged for this matter and are awaiting a hearing date.

The Attorney General furthermore confirms that “there is sufficient evidence to support the charge against Pauga. Given that the hearing of the other two co-defendants have yet to commence, the evidence surrounding the case cannot be disclosed at this stage.

“The Attorney General is duty bound to pursue the extradition request of Pauga and institute criminal proceedings in Samoa as there is sufficient evidence to support the alleged offence committed by Pauga.

“The Attorney General is also mandated to uphold the Constitution of Samoa, which includes the right to a fair trial.  At this stage the Attorney General is awaiting the outcome of the extradition proceedings in Australia.”

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