24 Feb 2005

PNG justice minister under fire for death penalty research trip abroad

1:23 pm on 24 February 2005

The Papua New Guinea justice minister, Mark Maipakai, has been criticised in parliament over a trip abroad last year to research whether to enforce the death penalty.

The Post-Courier newspaper reports that Mr Maipakai was asked why he had spent money looking for answers abroad.

But Mr Maipakai defended the trip and said his report on the trip to Singapore, Britain and the United States would be tabled soon.

Mr Maipakai didn't say if or when PNG's existing death penalty law would ever be enforced.

One MP, Guao Zurenuoc, told parliament that there was no doubt many people wanted what he called extreme measures in order to control a rise in violent crime.

Five people have been sentenced to death since PNG reintroduced the death penalty in 1991, but none has been executed.