19 Feb 2010

Tonga MP to push for abolition of whipping

2:16 pm on 19 February 2010

A Tonga member of parliament says he's going to propose the abolition of whipping as a criminal penalty when the House resumes next month.

Clive Edwards, who is also a lawyer and a former Justice Minister, says an appeal is underway against the Supreme Court's recent sentencing of two young prison escapees to six lashes of the whip along with 13 years' jail.

He says public opposition to whipping is strong and he wouldn't be surprised if within the next couple of months the government accepts the private member's bill he's putting forward to do away with the penalty.

"In this day and age fair-minded Tongan people will find this type of penalty very detestable and it's a form of penalty that I don't think is acceptable today. The opposition to this is strong and it will be one of the priorities to have it removed from our law books."

Clive Edwards says he believes the death penalty will also be abolished in due course.