By MALUM NALU
And with this cry, Mary Albaniel, wearing an orange t-shirt with the words, ‘No to violence against women’, pays a moving and emotional tribute to her niece, Rosalyn Albaniel-Evara.
The scene is at the Rev Sione Kami Memorial Church on Monday this week.
“When I first met you in 1991, I saw a simple and a humble young woman,” Albaniel says of her niece.
“When I was invited to attend your Grade 12 Graduation at Aiyura National High School (1993), I confirmed your aspiration to build a strong career in the near future.
“When you came to Port Moresby and lived with me and my family in Rainbow (estate) after your graduation (from Divine Word University) as a media student, I encouraged you to go for your life because the sky is your limit.
“When you wanted to move from Wantok newspaper to Post-Courier, I said, ‘go girl and it was just the humble beginning.’”
Albaniel tells the congregation that she has never been happy with Rosalyn’s marriage right from the beginning, sprinkled with anecdotes.
“When I heard that you died, I regretted that I should have done more than just talk to you,” she says.
Albaniel then drops a bombshell by showing projected images of the dead body.
The congregation is left in stunned silence as a powerpoint presentation with images of the dead body of Rosalyn are shown.
The images show that Rosalyn, business editor of the Post-Courier until the time of her death on Oct 15, had injuries to several parts of her body when she died.
“May you allow us, the Albaniel family, to release our anger for the loss of our aspiring young woman, who flashed the newspapers with Albaniel-Evara, but she’s a blood Albaniel,” Albaniel says.
“This is my campaign against violence against women of all forms.
“I’m sure that the domestic and the international human rights defenders will agree with me, to condemn it with the strongest statement that you can make.
“The Albaniel Family wanted a post-mortem but her mum dropped the case on Thursday, Oct 19.
“I felt bitter and broken, because how can I continue to raise awareness and advocacy against all forms of violence against women, yet a perpetrator is going to walk away free?
“Being your biological mum’s wish, your dad’s family can’t go any further except to expose it like this, and live with it for the rest of our lives.”
Rosalyn’s mother Ella Albaniel tells me that she was against the idea of a post-mortem although her daughter may have died of injuries.
A death certificate from Port Moresby General Hospital shows that Rosalyn, 41, collapsed on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct 15, and was rushed to hospital.
She was said to have been suffering severe headaches the previous day, collapsed and was brought to hospital, but died 30 minutes later.
The burial is set for 9am on Tuesday, Oct 23, without a post-mortem being conducted.
It’s something that bothers me, as I’ve known Rosalyn since 1994, when she was a journalism student doing her practical in Lae.
I also know her mum, Ella, from Buakap in Salamaua, and a longtime former principal of the Lae School of Nursing.
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop hears about the funeral service and gets in touch with me on Monday night.
I literally beg Parkop to intervene on behalf of the long-suffering women of this country.
Late on Monday night, Parkop sends an 11th hour SOS to police homicide and coroner to intervene: To take the body of Rosalyn, to stop the burial, to conduct a post-mortem.
Parkop, in his complaint, says photo evidence shows scars and injuries on various parts of Evara’s body “that must be or have contributed to her death”.
“On the face of it, one has to agree or conclude that these injuries cannot be self-inflicted or caused by accident,” he says.
“They appear in my view to be intentionally inflicted.
“Even though I am not relative of late Ms Albaniel (Evara), but as governor of the city which she is a resident, I believe I have the right to lay such complaint.
“I urge you (police) all to use such powers to undertake investigation to erase the suspicion or put the matter to a close if there is no offence committed.
“As a priority, request that you stop the burial which is planned for today, Oct 24, 2017, and get the coroner to withdraw the warrant to bury and conduct an autopsy or post-mortem instead.
“As governor of the city and member of parliament too, I am very concerned about the continuous violence being committed against women in our city and out country, which is reaching unprecedented levels.
“I will no longer sit by and allow such violence to be committed against women in our city.
“I will offer any support needed to ensure a thorough investigation to the cause of death is undertaken and a proper conclusion of this complaint is reached.”
- PS: The post-mortem was conducted on Wednesday with results expected to be released in two weeks.