By Colin C. Cortbus
Disturbing allegations that dangerous murderer Amador Osima was allowed to move freely after gaining the trust of prison guards have emerged. While Osima was undisputedly in solitary confinement at the time of his escape over the weekend, his previous track record at the Koror prison is now subject to intense investigation, including the question of whether errors by officers occurred.
At sentencing, Osima had been described by the judge as a ‘danger to society’. In light of this clear judicial assessment of the risk he posed, allegations that Osima was allowed to move freely in jail and may even have been treated as a prisoner trustee by guards for some period of time are likely to come as a shock.
A former inmate the prison facility, located near the Ernguul park in downtown Koror, told the Island Times he had witnessed that Osima “sometimes he walked freely in the compound”. Osima, the former inmate recounted, even came to his cell door to ask questions and make conversation. He also stated that he had observed Osima being allowed to deliver meals to fellow inmates on behalf of the guards. The Inmate suggested this was surprising. In prison, the former inmate suggested, the only way to be allowed to move around so freely and deliver food would have been for Osima to have been elevated by guards to the special, privileged rank of a highly trusted prisoner, a ‘trustee’ for short. “Maybe [Osima] was a trustee already”, the former inmate reasoned, “that is the only way you can let someone roam around the compound, you make them a trustee”.
The Island Times has chosen not to name the former inmate who provided this information for ethical reasons.
Bureau of Public Safety Director Alloysius Alonz confirmed to the Island Times that the allegations made by the former inmate would be fully investigated by the police as part of a wider review of how Osima was able to escape from prison.
Alonz made clear that at the time of his escape, Osima had definitely not been allowed to roam around the prison freely. In fact, he had very recently been placed into solitary confinement, after allegedly attacking another prisoner about a week ago.
That alleged incident is still under investigation, and the Island Times wishes to make clear that in regards to his alleged assault on another prisoner, Osima is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless or until he is proven guilty of such a crime in a court of law.
Alonz also denied that Osima had ever been appointed a trustee. “I can´t tell you if he was delivering meals… I reviewed his file and there was never a time when he was allowed to do so… I was the Chief of Corrections when he was caught and … did a memo to all officers that he should be in confinement”. While it is accurate to say that Osima was, after careful consideration, allowed to be part of the general prison population, the Director of the Bureau of Public Safety made clear there was never any authorisation for him to be a trustee. If this had happened in the case of Osima, then there would be tough consequences for those responsible. “If I become aware, someone will be responsible for that”. “Anything about this guy is going to be investigated”, Alonz concluded.
Osima had on a previous occasion already attempted and failed to escape jail, which makes the allegation that he was given preferred, trusted status by guards even more unsettling.
In an interview with the Island Times, Bureau of Public Safety Director Alonz recounted how Osima had been “caught immediately” during this previous attempt by hard-working, eagle-eyed officers. When Osima had jumped onto the roof in a bid to escape, the Chief of Corrections personally “went after him” and had “never put his eyes off him”. As a result, Osima never made it past the prison walls on that occasion. “At the time he was tired of being in confinement, that is what he told us”, Alonz commented on the motives for Osima`s escape attempt back then.