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Former cabinet minister among amnestied prisoners

A former Samoa cabinet minister, Leafa Vitale, is among the 35 prisoners released today in an amnesty to commemorate the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Leafa Vitale was jailed in 2000 for plotting with another cabinet minister, Toi Aukuso, the assassination of a cabinet colleague Luagalau Levaula Kamu the previous year.

Toi Aukuso died while serving his prison sentence.

Leafa Vitale was paroled in 2010 due to health reasons and his son, Alatise Leafa Vitale, who shot Luagalau, was also paroled some months later the same year.

The amnesty was announced by the Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese, during the independence celebrations.