Observers verify claims of assault by security forces

National

By HELEN TARAWA
ELECTORAL Commissioner Patilias Gamato says the general election observers had formally complained to him about the two alleged harassment incidents last Saturday.
Gamato said he relayed the complaints in a letter to Police Commissioner Gari Baki.
The observers — one from the Australian National University and others from the Melanesian Spearhead Group — had complained to Gamato of being intimidated and harassed by security force officers at the Rita Flynn Complex on Saturday.
“We received a formal complaint from the observers,” he said.
“So based on that, I formally wrote to the police commissioner raising the issues.
“The letter was hand-delivered to the Police Commissioner’s office.”
Metropolitan Superintendent Benjamin Turi urged the observers to lodge a complaint with the Port Moresby police.
He denied that the security force officers were involved.
Gamato said the election observer representing the Australian National University — a PNG citizen — was punched and had his cell phone smashed.
Those representing the Melanesian Spearhead Group were harassed.
In his letter to Baki dated July 8, he requested that “you further remind members of the security forces to allow observers to carry out their work without harassment or aggression — as long as the observers are acting within their code of conduct”.

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