15 Jul 2010

Tonga NGO congratulates Appeal Court on whipping decision

1:39 pm on 15 July 2010

Tonga's Human Rights and Democracy Movement is congratulating the Appeal Court for overturning a judgment that included whipping as part of the sentence.

Justice Robert Shuster's sentencing of two 17-year-old offenders in February to six lashes and imprisonment for burglary and escaping from prison met with strong opposition and sparked calls for the punishment to be outlawed.

The democracy movement's director, Po'oi Pohiva, says the Appeal Court judgment sends a clear message to Parliament that the law should be amended.

"Such punishment should no longer be seen given the international laws that uphold and promote the dignity of the human person and we'd like to congratulate the Court of Appeal for their decision."

Po'oi Pohiva says the judgement also lends weight to the case brought by pro-democracy MPs to remove Justice Shuster, whom the government's suggested could become the new chief justice.