16 Jan 2018

Samoan prisoner released to attend matai ceremony

1:56 pm on 16 January 2018

It's been revealed that a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder and drugs offences in Samoa was released so he could attend his matai title bestowal ceremony over the Christmas holidays.

no caption

Photo: 123RF

Tagaloasa Filipaina, the alleged leader of what's considered one of the biggest drug operations in Samoa, was released by the authorities despite being refused parole five times.

In a report by the Samoa Observer, the Minister for Prison Services Tialavea Tionisio Hunt said the prisoner was not considered a risk to the public.

However, Tagaloasa is held in a special section of the prison reserved for those considered high risk of flight and posing danger to others.

The Minister later admitted he knew nothing about the release.

Tagaloasa was released on parole in the early 2000s after serving more than 10 years of a murder conviction but was soon returned to jail after he was found guilty of drug offences.

He has since been refused parole on five occasions.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs