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Samoa wants pigs-head thrower handed over

Talalelei Pauga during an earlier court appearance.
Sources: Samoa Observer & Victorial Harbor Times

Apia, SAMOA — The man who threw a pig’s head at Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, and is now accused over a plot to kill the P.M., is facing an extradition hearing in Australia.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's office told the Brisbane Times that the defendant, Talalelei Pauga, 43, is wanted "to face prosecution in Samoa for the offence of conspiracy to murder".

Lawyer, Marc McKechnie, appearing on behalf of the Samoan Government, told a Brisbane Court on Tuesday that Samoa had made a lawful request to extradite Pauga and Australia has to honour its obligations under international law.

McKechnie said the charges against Pauga were serious.

But Pauga’s lawyers Greg Finlayson and George Mancini, disagree. 

They are trying to convince a Brisbane magistrate to release Pauga, arguing his detention was unlawful as Pauga had not been brought before a magistrate upon his arrest, according to the Brisbane Times.

The extensive hearing on Monday focused on administrative matters including Pauga's right to privacy, with an unsuccessful attempt made by his lawyers to close the court to the public and journalists.

The extradition hearing, before Brisbane Magistrate Belinda Merrin, continues.

Read more at Samoa Observer


Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was speaking about the launch of new Samoa Airways routes when Mr Pauga allegedly started yelling abuse and hurled meat and raw eggs on the floor. The alleged November 2018 incident took place at Logan's St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Parish, south of Brisbane.

A pig's head and rocks with threatening messages written on them were also thrown during the disturbance, TV1 Samoa reported at the time.

A business associate of Mr Pauga, who preferred not to be named, says the incident was a protest against alleged Samoan cultural land rights abuses.

He said Mr Pauga was a well-known Samoan activist and a member of Samoa Solidarity International.

"Throwing a pig's head in Samoa is a cultural insult to show disgust," he told AAP outside Brisbane's Magistrates Court on Monday.

Mr Pauga was also angry over alleged corruption, misuse of international aid funds and the erosion of freedom of speech in the tiny Pacific nation.

Read more at Times