2 Jul 2010

Compassion thought to be basis for parole for Samoa's convicted Cabinet Minister

7:34 am on 2 July 2010

The parole in Samoa of a former Cabinet Minister convicted of murder more than decade ago is thought to have been granted on compassionate grounds.

Leafa Vitale was found guilty of killing Luagalau Levaula Kamu, who was then the Minister of Works.

His death sentence had been commuted to life in prison.

Vitale has served 10 years at the Tafaigata Prison and our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says he's in very poor health.

"According to my investigation that was the ground of the decision by the parole board to have him released. Because not only he's sick he's been wheelchaired around the Tafaigata main prison, he's unable to walk, he's very very sick."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says the reaction to Vitale's parole from the public has been one of compassion.

Vitale's son, Eletise, shot Luagalau on instructions from his father and another former Cabinet Minister, the late Toi Aukuso, during the Human Rights Protection Party's birthday celebration at Alafua in 1999.