28 May 2013

PNG parliament passes tough new measures against crime

8:28 pm on 28 May 2013

Papua New Guinea's parliament has passed a string of law changes enacting tough new sentences designed to counter violent crime.

Under new amendments, the death penalty, which has been dormant in PNG since the 1950s, has been reactivated and is to be enforced for crimes including murder, aggravated rape, pack rape, or where the victim is a child under 10 years of age.

The parliament also passed laws allowing for five types of execution - hanging, lethal injection, medical death by deprivation of oxygen, firing squad and electrocution.

The method of execution is to be determined by the cabinet.

The parliament also repealed the controversial 1971 Sorcery Act, meaning those convicted of killing accused "sorcerers" will be sentenced to death.

Kidnapping will carry a prison term of 50 years without remission or parole, while kidnapping for ransom carries life imprisonment without parole.

Theft of money between 5 million kina and 9.99 kina million (or 4.4 million US dollars) will attract 50 years without parole.

Theft of money or property worth 10 million kina or more will be punished with life imprisonment.

The office of the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told AAP tougher drug penalties, alcohol licensing rules and stricter penalties for home brew have been temporarily deferred.

Two weeks ago, Peter O'Neill apologised to women in PNG for the high levels of sexual and domestic violence they experienced and pledged to pass the stricter penalties - penalties he described as "draconian."