By JASON GIMA WURI
FORMER Rai Coast MP and Madang governor James Yali is still a State prisoner who will be subjected to restrictions and will not pursue political aspirations while on parole, Correctional Services (CS) acting Commissioner Henry Wavik said.
Mr Wavik was responding to questions raised by representatives of the Civil Society, Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) and its partners in a press conference at the Institute of National Affairs yesterday.
He added that Mr Yali was not treated differently from other prisoners.
The FSVAC and its partners maintained that minor health reasons and the conditions that qualified Yali for release were insufficient when the rest of the offenders suffered the same consequences and they recalled his past use of the ploy, notably his release from jail on medical grounds in 2007 to be able to nominate for the election.
Mr Wavik said detainee Yali was granted parole on his own merits after meeting all the requirements expected by the parole board.
He said in 2007, Mr Yali was escorted out of jail to seek medical attention in the hospital when his supporters forcefully removed him and took him down to the Madang town centre to be nominated.
“He is not the first perpetrator of rape and sex related offender being released on parole.
“On record, we have released many similar detainees on parole and are now serving the remainder of their sentences in the community.
“To date, we have not received any parolees returning to jail for recommitting the same offence or sex related offences,” Mr Wavik said.
He added that the final decision to allow parole was done by the Parole Board after acquiring reports and recommendations from the Parole Secretariat and the CS.
FSVAC programme coordinator Ume Wainette said even after Mr Yali’s release, there were growing concerns as to the fairness in our constitution regarding the difference between Mr Yali’s case and others still behind bars for the same offence.
“We are discussing all issues related to violence and such moves defeat all efforts to address violence and the safety of our mothers and young girls who are vulnerable to such crime,” Ms Wainette said.