Prisoner at Hu’atolitoli beaten til he defecated himself

An inmate at Hu’atolitoli Prison had to be dragged to a shower to be washed off because he defecated in his pants as a result of a beating he received from Tongan prison guards.

Paula ‘Ulu’ave allegedly fled the prison on September 6 but he intended only a short visit home.

He was eventually returned to Hu'atolitoli by his father the same evening.

'Ulu'ave was then taken to a room where he was beaten by about five prison guards til he fell unconscious.

At one stage, he yelled out for help but the guards turned the room’s light off and continued beating him til he defecated in his pants. He also suffered severe bruises.

The Tonga Prison Commissioner, Sione Falemanu, told Kaniva News it was true the inmate was beaten but according to a report he recieved on the matter, there was no claim that 'Ulu'ave defecated in his pants.  .

"I went on a leave and just came back to find out about the incident. The boy ('Ulu'ave) was fine I have been to the island with him..he said he is alright. The matter has been reported to the minister and we had a meeting about it. The prisoner was beaten but it was not to the extend of what you are now explaining to me," Falemanu said (translated from Tongan).

Falemanu would not give the details of the meeting he had with the minister and he said police are still working on it.

‘Isileli Pulu, Tongatapu number 4 Representative to Parliament had an opportunity to meet with the victim. He said he asked the Prison Minisiter, Hon Tu'utafaiva for a chance to see 'Ulu'ave in the prison after 'Ulu'ave's mother contacted him. The mother, quoted by Pulu, said her son was seriously beaten and was incarcerated in the pilisone malu – maximum security prison.

According to PR Pulu he went with Hon Tūʻutafaiva to Hu'atolitoli to see ʻUluʻave. 

Kaniva News contacted the Ministry of Police and the Acting Deputy Police Commmissioner, ʻUnga Faʻaoa said, "I have never been informed about any complaint form an inmate from Hu'atolitoli Prison. I will check with Officer in Charge of Police District Number 2 about the truth of this matter".

PR Pulu however interviewed ‘Ulu’ave infront of the prison guards and Hon Tu'utafaiva. He found out from the interview  the incident occurred between 8 – 9pm on September 6.

‘Ulu’ave convinced Pulu that he did defecate on his clothes during his beating and one of the prison guards repeatedly stomped on his stomach while he was lying helplessly on the floor.

The accused guards are members of a taskforce established by the Prison Department to deal with diehard prisoners. The Hu’atolitoli office said the officers beat the inmate as a punishment because he had lied to them.

Pulu said  'Ulu'ave agreed with him  to sue the prison guards over the incident but he now learnt that 'Ulu'ave changed his mind and refused to take legal action. This is because, as Pulu claimed ʻUluʻave was offered promises by the prison guards for a good behaviour credit. This offer according to Pulu would allow 'Ulu'ave to qualify for things like freely visiting his family at the weekends or joining the prisoners at the island of 'Ata.

Pulu said prisoners at 'Ata are considered more relax in the work they do and could enjoy things like faikava at night time(kava Tonga party).

Commissioner Falemanu told Kaniva News he had just returned from the "island" after taking 'Ulu'ave there.

Asked whether the prison guards breached the law by beating the prisoner Falemanu did not give a direct answer but instead said, the guards could use reasonable force to overccome resistance.

PR Pulu said this was part of an on-going saga about prisoners being severely beaten in the Tongan prison, while the law is clear that prison guards do not have any right to beat inmates.

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