PNG in execution limbo

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 12:54 23/11/2012

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Papua New Guineans are lining up to become the country's executioner, but politicians cannot decide whether to hang, gas or lethally inject the condemned.

PNG media report that Justice Minister Kerenga Kua was under pressure in Parliament this week over the fact that there were 10 men on death row but they were still alive.

Kua wants to extend the death penalty to cover rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking, as well as treason, piracy and murder.

PNG law requires death by hanging but Kua said the courts were reluctant to finally allow executions.

He said with PNG experiencing increased lawlessness and serious crimes, the justice system must be kept abreast of this changing trend and move towards the death penalty.

"The 10 awaiting execution by hanging are still alive because the penalty was described as cruel and inhuman in 2005," Kua said.

He said current thinking favoured Texas-style lethal injection.

"While we have to consider the costs involved and the need to prepare the killing chambers, which will run into the millions, we have many Papua New Guineans who have already expressed their interest in carrying out the executions," Kua said.

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