21 Aug 2007

Samoa police charge leading opposition MP with contempt of court

3:15 pm on 21 August 2007

The leader of the Samoa Democratic United Party, or SDUP, Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, has been charged with contempt of court for accusing the chief justice and the judiciary of bias.

Asiata's accusations were directed at the way the court had handled his party's case against a ruling by the speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe, in which he deemed the SDUP was no longer recognised in parliament because it has fewer than seven members.

The case against Asiata has been adjourned until mid-October for the court to hear a challenge against the charge.

The SDUP leader, who is a lawyer by profession, says the case against him is politically motivated.

He says he has the right as a politician to voice his disappointment and concerns over the way the case was handled.