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PNG ready to execute prisoners on death row

Sunday 8 February 2015 | Published in Regional


PORT MORESBY– The secretary of Papua New Guinea’s justice department says the 13 people on death row in the country will be executed this year.

This comes after cabinet endorsed guidelines for the implementation of the death penalty.

Lawrence Kalinoe says the government is adamant on starting executions this year, and the 13 people had exhausted all their appeal and constitutional review processes.

The newspaper, The National, says cabinet has approved guidelines for three modes of execution – hanging, lethal injection and firing squad– which will carried out at a facility to be built at Port Moresby’s Bomana Prison.

PNG’s government reactivated the death penalty in 2013 in reaction to a spate of violent crimes, drawing the ire of international human rights groups.

But Kalinoe says critics are hiding behind human rights to criticise the government, and says the death penalty is implemented in sophisticated countries, such as the the United States.

Papua New Guinea church leaders have condemned the decision to implement death penalty.

Church leaders said in a media statement: “ We believe that all human life is God-given and that no one, including the State, should take upon itself the right to end a life.

“Additionally, there is ample evidence proving that over the best processes of justice mistakes can sometimes happen.

“ It is therefore, unthinkable that we, the people, should condemn a potentially innocent person to death.

“As a Christian nation, we can never allow our justice system to sink to acts of revenge or payback.

“We must not take the attitude of ‘an eye for an eye’ but rather maintain penalties that are appropriate for all crimes but do not include the death penalty.

Incidences of serious crime have not decreased in countries that have adopted the death penalty, the statement said.

“The possibility of the death penalty increases the possibility that the criminal will murder their victim to eliminate them as a witness.

“We call upon the Papua New Guinea government to continue to work towards a nation of propriety of equality, so that people can pursue legal legitimate ways of life”.