* UPR Review of Papua New Guinea will be on 6/5/2016
The death penalty has not been used in PNG for more than 50 years, but in 2014 to deter crime, the capital punishment was reintroduced, and laws have been amended to include more death penalty offences. Death penalty offences include treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings. Three forms of executions are hanging, lethal injection and firing squad.
Whether anyone has been executed is unclear, though there are people on the death row.
PNG’s death penalty policy ‘under review’ after fallout from Indonesia executions, Peter O’Neill says
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says the death penalty is “under review” after recent global outcry over the execution of foreign drug convicts in neighbouring Indonesia.
PNG revived capital punishment two years ago to reduce rampant crime, prompted in part by the live burning of a 20-year-old woman for sorcery.
The country’s National Executive Council approved three modes of execution – hanging, lethal injection and firing squad – but none of the 12 convicts on death row have been killed, due to a lack of infrastructure.
“As I have indicated publicly, that (the death penalty) is under review,” Mr O’Neill told reporters in comments published by the Post-Courier newspaper, after being asked whether PNG would think again following the Indonesian fallout.
“Our agencies of government are reviewing all aspects of the death penalty in our country and we will debate this issue on the floor of parliament when parliament resumes.”
The prime minister’s comments came ahead of a two-day visit by Indonesian president Joko Widodo, under whose leadership 14 drug convicts have been executed, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Catholic church welcomes suggestion of review
Catholic archbishop John Ribat, a vocal opponent to the death penalty in PNG, told Pacific Beat he supported suggestions of a review and said it would “promote respect for life”.
Mr Ribat said he respected Mr Widodo’s right to enforce the death penalty in Indonesia but did not agree with the punishment being used in PNG.
“That is the view of his nation, but here we are Christians, and we believe God’s law must prevail,” he said.
“No-one has any right to take the life of any other people.”
Australia’s SmartTraveller website advises those visiting Papua New Guinea to “exercise a high degree of caution… because of the high levels of serious crime”.
In February, attorney-general and Department of Justice secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said the government wanted to make the country a safer place by re-introducing capital punishment.
But Mr Ribat said the crimes punishable by death – treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings – would be better dealt with long prison terms.
He said the government was “avoiding responsibility” with the death penalty by not rehabilitating serious offenders.
“We believe that a better way of dealing with people who have broken laws is actually to commit them to a life sentence, and that is a way of rehabilitating people and helping them to become good people,” he said. – ABC
PNG government defends death penalty as new guidelines approved
The Papua New Guinea government has defended its decision to reinstate the death penalty as the country prepares to execute 13 prisoners before the end of the year.
Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, secretary for the Department of Justice and attorney-general, said people had had enough of serious crime and perpetrators should die for their crimes.
“In this country we have very strong support for the implementation of the death penalty,” Mr Kalinoe told the ABC’s Radio Australia.
“For example, one of the (radio) talkback shows I went to, 33 people called. Of the 33, three opposed the death penalty, 30 of them fully supported the government’s role, to actually offer to be the executioner.
“That’s how serious the citizens of this country are, serious in trying to make this place, a just safe and secure society.”
Mr Kalinoe’s comments came after the government approved new guidelines for the implementation of death penalty.
The death penalty has not been used in PNG for more than 50 years, but was re-enacted last year when the law was amended to include more offences.
The National Executive Council then approved three modes of execution – lethal injection, firing squad and hanging.
Since then, 13 people have been waiting on death row, but lack of infrastructure has meant there has been no method to enact the capital punishment.
Recent reports suggest both Indonesia and Thailand have stepped in with offers of financial assistance and expertise.
Mr Kalinoe said the government wanted to make the country safer in re-enacting the death penalty.
“Papua New Guinea, in particular Port Moresby, is regarded as one of the most dangerous cities of the world,” he said.
“That’s a label that us Papua New Guineans live with, sometimes we’re very embarrassed … what a beautiful country but our reputation, fairly or unfairly, has gotten ahead of us, making this place a very unsafe sort of a place to live in.
“One of [the government’s aims] was to strengthen police, strengthen the law and justice sector and implement whatever laws we need to implement.”
Last week the Archbishop of the PNG Catholic Church, John Ribat, spoke out against the death penalty and called for more community discussion on the matter.
The crimes in PNG that could attract the death penalty for those convicted included: treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence, and sorcery-related killings. – ABC 18/2/2015