17 Sep 2007

American Samoans urged to accept federal court

3:28 pm on 17 September 2007

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says having a US federal district court in American Samoa would stop federal agents from going to the territory and taking locals to be tried in Honolulu.

Following the recent arrest of Lt. Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia and Senator Tulifua Lam Yuen, there have been renewed calls for the establishment of a federal court in the territory.

However, leaders of the local Fono have resisted such a court.

Congressman Faleomavaega says without a Federal district court there, local residents accused of federal crimes would continue to be taken off island.

"And who knows to suggest that if you are going to be tried in Hawaii that your rights are going to be guaranteed to the extend that you are to be tried by your peers, people in Hawaii are not your peers and in the Constitution you are suppose to be tried by your peers, so there is some really serious Constitutional issues I have here."

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin.