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In Samoa: Tafa’igata prisoner tells all

SPEAKING OUT: Daniel Vailopa has detailed complaints about treatment at Tafa'lgata. [Samoa Observer]

A 23-year-old prisoner serving time at Tafa’igata for possession of narcotics wants help. After escaping from prison on March 12, he was found at his family’s house at Fugalei later that same day. When he refused to return to Tafa’igata with the officers who came to search for him, he claimed that he was beaten. “I was beaten so badly that my ribs were broken and I suffered from injuries to my face,” he said.

He claims the officers beat him with a metal bar and a mango branch. Daniel Vailopa understands that it would be hard for people to believe him since he is not a first time offender. “But I speak of only the truth now because I have suffered enough,” he told the Samoa Observer. Vailopa appeared in the District Court on Tuesday morning for a charge of escaping from Tafa’igata Prison.

“I was in that dark cell for a whole month suffering from my wounds before they decided to take me to see a doctor and that was only because they saw I was not recovering.”

Vailopa swears as a result of that beating “I now suffer from a long term illness where I am bleeding internally from wounds that I received to my ribs”. While speaking to the Samoa Observer, he held on to a toilet tissue that was stained with blood.

“See what I mean I am bleeding from inside and my breath smells and they still keep me in that dark cell.” He likened the cell to a container “you tell me how you would feel if you were taken in and the door behind you is shut? “I will say it is very hot and you can hardly breathe.

They’ve kept me in this dark cell for four months now naked and I tell you I sleep on my faeces and urine and eat in there as well.” He alleges Police only took him to see a doctor a month after he received his injuries “when they realised that I wasn’t getting any better and I was slowly bleeding to death”. “I receive injections now to help clot Prisoner tells all “… it is very hot and you can hardly breathe.

They’ve kept me in this dark cell for four months now naked and I tell you I sleep on my faeces and urine and eat in there as well…” the blood so it does not continue to leak this way and those last either for eight or 24 hours before I need the next shot.”

 

Vailopa said he only ran away from Tafa’igata because he wanted to be able to wear clean clothes “and I was getting tired of asking other prisoners to borrow theirs”.

He also claims that he was very hungry and I had made four requests to them about my concerns they never listened “this is the only reason why I left that day”.

He escaped from prison while he and other prisoners were let out of their cells to do work outside on the prison compound.

“I told the officers that my mother would accompany me back to Tafa’igata but they wouldn’t hear of it and so they kept beating me before I was dragged into the Police car.”

Vailopa claims that if Police had tried to understand him that day he would not be suffering and there wouldn’t have to be a complaint against them. Assistant Police Commissioner Leaupepe Fatu Pula was not aware of Vailopa’s case.

“If there was a complaint it would already be before me and if there such issues of this kind it should have been raised in court.”



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