Samoa: Australian blogger at risk of extradition

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Talalelei Pauga is a former Australian public servant who has been an Australian citizen for over twenty years. He is currently appealing the extradition proceedings through the Federal Court of Australia, with his trial before the Federal Court of Australia listed on 14 March 2022. Pauga was arrested and detained in August 2020 in Australia.

In late 2018, when the then Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi (Tuilaepa) visited Brisbane, a city in Australia, Pauga verbally protested political corruption committed by the foreign leader and presented him with a pig’s head, a Samoan cultural slur. In 2019, Pauga and the co-accused Lemai Sione and Malele Paulo, were all charged with conspiracy to murder. The accused had all been vocal opponents of the Samoan government and Tuilaepa. 

Under the Australian Extradition Act 1988 (Cth) a person is only required to have been charged with an extradition offence to get extradited. That is: an offence recognised in both countries that carries a penalty of at least 12 months. This means that there is almost no evidentiary burden to overcome in requests of extradition and as such concerningly little evidence has been presented as to the charges Pauga is facing. The right to a fair trial includes the right to know what evidence is being presented in order to appropriately prepare a defence case with lawyers.

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