By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE 60 PNG citizens serving jail terms in Indonesian prisons will be repatriated to PNG to prevent them from being infected with Covid-19, Prime Minister James Marape says.
Indonesia last week closed down its prisons and released about 18,000 inmates on parole to their homes in a desperate bid to prevent the outbreak of Covid-19.
Marape said the Government would bring the PNG inmates back to the country but they will “not let lose into the society”.
“We will work to ensure that there are isolation facilities built in Vanimo, West Sepik and along the border areas to address this sort of movements,” Marape said.
He said the inmates would be kept in isolation facilities.
Earlier, PNG Consul-General in Jayapura Col Geoffrey Wiri said 53 were serving jail terms relating to drug smuggling and illegal entry at Doyo Baru narcotics prison in Jayapura while seven others were at the Bolangi narcotics prison in Makassar, Sulawesi.
“The Indonesian correctional services is releasing Indonesian prisoners under their state of emergency laws to stop the spread of Covid-19,” Wiri said.
PNG prisoners at Doyo are concerned about contracting the Covid-19. They are asking the Government to arrange with Indonesia about releasing them on parole.
Indonesian prisoners have been released in batches since last Thursday. Soon, only PNG prisoners will be left at Doyo.
Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven earlier said there was an extradition treaty between PNG and Indonesia which allowed citizens serving prison terms there to return home.
“The treaty is good for our relationship,” he said. “If PNG citizens are penalised in Indonesia for breaching Indonesian laws and are serving terms in Indonesian prison, they can be extradited to PNG.
“Likewise, for Indonesian citizens who are in PNG prisons for breaching PNG laws, they can be extradited back to Indonesia.”
Steven said PNG prisoners had to ask the Indonesian courts to extradite them to serve their terms here.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK