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Supporters attempt to stop rape charges

Thursday 15 January 2015 | Published in Regional


APIA – The names of the prime minister and the attorney general of Samoa are reported to have been used in attempts to have attempted rape charges against the Savali newspapers’ suspended editor Tupuola Terry Tavita dropped.

This has angered the complainants adopted father, Reverend Kuresa Solomona Samuleu, who has written to the prime minister about the matter.

The letter details the latest attempts by family and friends to have his family drop the charges against Tavita.

“Terry’s families and friends came to me four times asking us to drop the charges,” Reverend Samuelu told Talamua.

He said every time they visited, they always made out it was the prime minister or the attorney general who had sent them.

The reverend is convinced the prime minister and the attorney general are not aware of what’s happening – and has asked the prime minister in his letter, “to stop Terry from using your name and the Attorney General”.

“Susu mai pea ia e tali nai ana mea.” Samuela said. Translated: “Let him come and answer for what he did”.

He told Talamua that after Tavita’s families and friends failed to convince him, they turned their attention on the complainant’s uncle, who is also a pastor with the Assembly of God church at Faleatiu.

Reverend Samuelu said he will be disappointed if the prime minister did try to interfere with the course of justice.

Savali News editor Tavita has been charged with the attempted rape of a journalism student at the National University of Samoa who was attached to the Savali newspaper in November last year.

The student accompanied the editor to cover a high profile event at Aleipata in November last year.

After the incident, the student was left behind and she had to hitch a ride with reporters from another newspaper who later reported the incident.

An official complaint was lodged with the Samoa Victim Support Group and Tavita was arrested a few days later and placed under police custody until he surrendered his travel documents.

The Acting Police Commissioner Fauono Talalelei Tapu said that Tavita could face more charges.

He is to appear in court on January 19.

Meantime, the governmentt has issued a statement confirming Tavita’s suspension from the state-run newspaper and that he is on leave with full pay until the allegations against him are resolved.

Talamua reports that Reverend Samuelu adopted the girl involved in the complaint – and two other siblings – after their mother died in the 2009 tsunami.