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Hawaii News

Telescope protester is given Hawaiian-language interpreter

A telescope protester who asserted what he called his right to speak Hawaiian instead of English in court earlier this year has been granted an interpreter in Wailuku District Court.

A trial date was set for May 23 for 51-year-old Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo, the Maui News reported.

Kaeo is among six protesters arrested Aug. 2 as dozens of protesters gathered to confront a convoy carrying equipment for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at the Haleakala summit. He has pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway and refusing to comply with a police officer’s order.

A $750 bench warrant initially had been issued to Kaeo after Judge Blaine Kobayashi asked him four times to give his name in English during a court hearing in January.

A day later the warrant was recalled, and the state Judiciary changed its policy for Hawaiian interpreters.

Kaeo’s case was reassigned to Judge Kelsey Kawano, who ordered an interpreter for the trial.

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