13 Mar 2019

Allegations of brutality at American Samoa jail

7:39 am on 13 March 2019
American Samoa has opened a new detention facility at the Territorial Correctional Facility.

American Samoa has expanded its Territorial Correctional Facility Photo: RNZI Monica Miller

Three prisoners in America Samoa have alleged police brutality and inhumane treatment as reasons why prisoners escape from the Territorial Correctional Facility, the only adult prison in the territory.

Samoa News reports three inmates - Joe Togitogi, Ryan Pite and Joseph Iosefa Iakopo - made the claims when they appeared last week for sentencing after being convicted of escaping from confinement in January 2018.

According to the newspaper, the trio told the High Court that they escaped because police treated them like animals, and they wanted to notify their families of the situation.

The Assistant Public Defender, Rob McNeill, who represented all three men, asked the court to consider light sentences.

Mr McNeill said his clients claim they beaten, mistreated and made to sleep on a cement floor for almost a month.

However, Mr McNeill said he had no records or photos to prove such claims.

Each inmate was sentenced to five years imprisonment, to run consecutively with any terms they are already serving.