12 Apr 2013

PNG PM rules out quick repeal of sorcery act

10:26 am on 12 April 2013

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says it will take time before legislation to repeal the controversial sorcery act is brought before Parliament.

Mr O'Neill says while he hoped to have the law dismantled during the current session of parliament, it will likely take longer.

He told local media MPs are starting to work on the legislation but he says realistically it will be a few sessions before MPs are able to put a bill to Parliament.

PNG has come under increased international pressure to repeal the act, which critics say is being used as a defence by people accused of killing alleged sorcerers.

Last week in Bougainville, former primary school teacher Helen Rumbali was decapitated by a mob in the autonomous region's south after they accused her of using witchcraft to murder a colleague.

In another widely reported incident earlier this year, 20-year-old mother of one, Kepari Leniata was tortured, stripped and burned alive by a crowd near Mt Hagen.