29 Mar 2006

Former American Samoa factory owner contests venue for enslavement trial

10:05 am on 29 March 2006

A former garment factory owner convicted of enslaving, starving and beating his workers in American Samoa claims he was kidnapped to stand trial in Honolulu.

The attorney for Kil Soo Lee says in an appeal that his client was essentially kidnapped by the FBI for trial at the federal court in Honolulu instead of having the case heard at the High Court of American Samoa, where the alleged crimes occurred.

Lee was sentenced last year to 40 years in prison and ordered to pay 3 million US dollars in restitution, for enslaving workers at the now closed garment factory

A lower court ruled in August 2001 that Hawaii was the proper venue to hear the case because there is no federal court in American Samoa, where Lee's crimes were committed.

The U.S. government has until May to file a response to the appeal.