Death penalty not a solution: Church

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday February 12th, 2015

 By Bonny Koke 

THE death penalty is not a solution to crime and the Catholic Church in PNG will not support its implementation, a spokesman says.

General secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands Father Victor Roche and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby said: “We do agree that the Government wants to put a stop to merciless killings of innocent people, especially rape, sorcery and murder. 

“It is true that people of this country want the law and order situation to be brought under control. 

“But the death penalty is not a solution.”

Ribat said the church had been opposing the death penalty since 2013 when it was passed in Parliament following the attack on tourists and porters on the Kokoda Track.

He said the death penalty was against Christian principles “and many churches will agree with us”.

“We are calling for life sentencing as an alternative,” he said. Ribat said the implementation of the death penalty in countries such as Singapore and Indonesia had not decreased the crime rate.

“We welcome the idea of higher penalties for abduction, murder, misuse of funds, because the Government is giving the signal to the offenders that it is serious about bringing down crime and corruption in the country. 

“But the death penalty is not a solution.”