Satapuala Defendants Plead Not Guilty In Samoa Court

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Villagers charged with obstruction, unlawful assembly

By Unumoe Esera

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Nov. 6, 2012) – Member of Parliament for Aana No.3. Toeolesulusulu Cedric Pose Salesa Schuster and other chiefs and untitled men of the village of Satapuala entered a not guilty plea to the charges of unlawful assembly and obstruction before the District Court this morning in Samoa.

Judge Mata Tuatagaloa has scheduled the hearing from 29 April to the 10 May 2013. The length of the case has to do with Prosecution having 101 witnesses who will give evidence.

Lawyers Tuala Karanita Enari and Papalii Li’o Taeu Masepa’u represent the defendants who have been remanded on bail until the hearing date.

Those charged are Ga Faleafaga Sakalia, Lesisamoa Faga, Lua Aiga, Muagututia Akeripa Toelepaialii, Samuelu Mauga, Sani Ili, Toese Punavai, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Pose Salesa Schuster, Vaili Mimita, Uikai Aigafaalagilagi Samuelu Faleupolu, Lasei Sione, Tagi Fifita and Tomasi Ilioletutu.

In a separate incident, Samuelu Mauga is individually charged for possession of an unlawful weapon and will appear before the court on the 20th November 2012 for re-mention.

The incident at Satapuala occurred earlier this year when Satapuala staged a roadblock on the main road passing through their village in rebellion against the Government for refusing to return their customary lands which the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi says belongs to Government and will be used to build a District Hospital funded by United States aid.

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