Arrested for mocking prime minister

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 11:23 13/01/2014
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
Fairfax NZ
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

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A teenage boy who took part in a video ridiculing Samoa's prime minister has been arrested and is being held in custody accused of using insulting words.

The video, which was widely circulated by phone in Samoa and posted on Facebook, mocked Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele.

Matai or chiefs of the village of Sili in Savai'i have already fined the boy's family WST$10,000 (NZ$5200), 30 cartons of tinned fish and two cows.

The Ali'i ma Faipule - the high chiefs and orators - also travelled to Apia and made a traditional apology or ifoga to the prime minister which included abasing themselves under mats before him.

The Samoa Observer says police held the boy in custody over the weekend.

"The charges will be reviewed on Monday," acting police commissioner Misa Tala'imanu Keti said.

The boy has not been before a court and it was a police decision to hold him in custody.

It will be decided later today if he is taken to court.

"I have met with the prime minister but we have to go through with the court process," Misa said.

"What the prime minister has told us about what has been done to the youth in his village as a result will also be mentioned in court."

The Observer quoted police saying the video, filmed with a phone on a plantation, was "emotionally distressful" and included "verbal harassment" of the prime minister.

The prime minister accepted the apology of the village, saying it showed Samoan culture was in a healthy state.

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- Fairfax Media

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