21 Mar 2012

Family of a man who died in custody in American Samoa file lawsuit against govt

5:09 am on 21 March 2012

The family of a Filipino man who died in 2010 while in the custody of American Samoa local authorities has filed a lawsuit against the government for negligence and wrongful death.

Rufo Alvear Jr., had been hospitalized for months after he collapsed at the Territorial Correctional Facility due to multiple medical problems, which included diabetes, lung and kidney failure.

He was in custody because of his immigration status.

In their lawsuit, Mr Alvear's family say he had lived in the territory for over 20 years and believed he was entitled to apply for permanent residency status.

Instead, he was wrongfully arrested at Immigration and taken to the jail.

The family says Mr Alvear had various medical conditions, including vision in only one eye, and was unable to properly fend for himself in a prison environment.

The complaint alleges that he was in custody for nine months, during which time he was subjected to sexual molestation by other inmates.