15 Feb 2006

American Samoan prison warder in court on assault charges

11:29 am on 15 February 2006

The former warden of American Samoa's Tafuna Correctional Facility will appear at the federal court in Honolulu this morning for his preliminary hearing.

Mika Kelemete Jr., was arrested in Pago Pago on Sunday and taken to Honolulu where he was officially charged with the alleged beating of a prison inmate

Today's hearing will determine whether Kelemete is released on bail or detained.

An FBI investigation found that in August 2003 Kelemete had prison officers handcuff the inmate to a tent pole.

Kelemete then allegedly struck him with a wooden board on the head, neck and upper back.

The beaten man was then placed in a maximum security cell and denied medical attention.

Kelemete faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of the attack.