Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, requested his assistance regarding 42 Indonesian fishermen who are believed to be held in American Samoa, three of whom are believed to be missing. In response to the Ambassador’s concern, and in his capacity as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, Faleomavaega has written to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to request the FBI to investigate this matter to determine if any Federal laws possibly have been violated. Copies of Faleomavaega’s letter to the AG were forwarded to Governor Togiola Tulafono, Lieutenant Governor Faoa Sunia, President Lolo Moliga and Senators, and Speaker Savali Ale and Representatives of the Fono. The full text of the Congressman’s letter follows.
October 7, 2008
The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General:
I have just been informed by His Excellency Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States, that there are serious concerns about the status of 42 Indonesian fishermen who are currently being held in American Samoa. It is my understanding that three of the fishermen are missing and that there may be foul play involved. As chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, I have conducted several meetings with leaders of the Indonesian government for the purpose of establishing stronger security, trade, and economic relations between Indonesia and the United States.
I am very concerned with the safety and treatment of these 42 Indonesian fishermen. Notwithstanding the lack of information known on the matter so far, I hope the fishermen have been afforded due process and been given proper treatment by the owners of the fishing vessels that have delivered fish for processing in American Samoa. Ambassador Sudjadnan has informed me that he is planning to visit American Samoa sometime next week and I plan to meet with him to find out more about the status of these fishermen. I am also concerned whether the lives of these 42 Indonesian fishermen may be endangered. Given these circumstances, I am requesting an immediate investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into possible violations of Federal laws and any activities that could jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of these fishermen. Any violations committed should be subject either under the full extent of the United States laws or under the current provisions of the treaty relations between Indonesia and the United States.
I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter and I would like to be kept abreast of those who will be involved in the investigation, particularly those who will be assigned by the FBI.
Feel free to contact me directly at (202) 225-8577 or (684) 633-1372 if you have any questions relating to this matter.
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA
Chairman, House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment
Governor Togiola Tulafono
Lt. Governor Faoa Ipulasi Sunia
President Lolo Moliga and Senators
Speaker Savali Talavou Ale and Representatives