CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA SEEKS PROBE OF SUVA DEATH

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Samoa News, July 19) - Congressman Faleomavaega Eni is requesting that the U.S. Attorney General launch an immediate investigation into the death of local businessman Alex Galea'i, whose body was found July 10 in a motel room in Suva, Fiji. His body was returned to the territory over the weekend.

Faleomavaega's request was sent yesterday to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales as well as to the U.S. State Department and the Office of the Prime Minister of Fiji.

In the letters, Faleomavaega said that he has been contacted by his constituent, Mrs. Fia Faiivae Galea'i, regarding her son's death in Fiji.

Faleomavaega said that Fiji police officials who conducted the investigation reported that Galea'i had multiple knife wounds both in his stomach and chest areas. The congressman also said Fijian police had determined that the cause of Galea'i's death was self-inflicted.

"I do not for a second believe such a finding," Faleomavaega said, "especially when an autopsy was not performed on Mr. Galea'i's body. It is quite obvious that a murder took place and that foul play is involved."

Faleomavaega said he has "called for an immediate investigation" and asked Gonzales to dispatch a team of FBI agents to conduct a thorough review of the events surrounding Galea'i's untimely death.

At the same time, Christopher Hill, an assistant secretary at the State Department has been asked "to intervene through diplomatic channels."

He also contacted the Fiji Prime Minister and requested the assistance of the appropriate Ministry of his government to assist U.S. federal agents "who I am hopeful will be sent to Fiji to conduct an investigation in the very near future."

Fiji police Criminal Investigation Detail (CID) Director Waisea Vakamocea told Samoa News early this week that police have not yet completed the investigation but evidence so far points to a knife injury, possibly "self-inflicted." Vakamocea also confirmed that an autopsy report showed Alex's death was caused by a knife injury.

With Galea'i's body returned to the territory, Faleomavaega said it's his understanding that an autopsy will be conducted some time this week at the LBJ hospital. If asked, the Congressman said that he will forward the results of the autopsy to Gonzales.

"Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with the family and I will do everything I can to make sure they get the justice they deserve," he said.

Galea'i's memorial service for family members and friends was held yesterday at the LBJ Chapel.

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