Forcible detention of village leaders wrong


THE heavy-handed tactics applied by police in East Sepik on Sima/Hambeli villages in Yangoru is not within the law.
The forcible detention without charges of two village leaders since Jan 3, 9am, at the Yangoru Police Station holding cells is not right.
The men were not alleged to have committed any offence themselves, but as leaders, they were detained and incarcerated to compel the surrender of the several youths from their village who had previously worked on a bridge across a river and linking their village as well as several neighbouring villages to Yangoru.
These workers attempted to burn that bridge in September last year after waiting in vain to receive their payment for their materials and labour.
Following and in retaliation to that attempted act of arson, police units from Yangoru and Tangori police stations raided the village and detained Jacob Tuolingi and burnt his house down.
Tuolingi is alleged to have died upon his release from the Yangoru Police Station holding cells on Sept 20 from injuries received from his beating and lack of medical attention for over two weeks in police custody.
The police should act in accordance with the law they were trained in and swore to uphold and not to act on directives from politicians and or bureaucrats to drive their own personal and or political agendas.
No person shall be deprived off their liberty, except as provided for by law.
The Arrest Act says that a person shall only be arrested if, on probable cause, he or she has committed an offence, has committed an offence and or is about to commit an offence.
The notion of collective responsibility does not apply in modern criminal law.
No person is responsible for the criminal conduct of another.
The action taken in locking up these two men to secure the surrender of the others is a primitive policing method.
It is an outrageous abuse of police powers and amounts to a criminal act in itself.
They have now been locked up for over 72 hours, which is unreasonable and outright illegal.
We question the police demands for the parents of the youths to turn up at the police station.
The suspects are not toddlers, they are adult men who are responsible for their own actions.

Leaders of Sima/Hambeli