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Australia urged to help stop PNG sorcery

Staff Reporter 3/08/2013 | |

  • Australia urged to help stop PNG sorcery  (Source: ONE News)
    Papua New Guinea Southern Highlands - Source: ONE News
A leading Papua New Guinea judge says Australia could help PNG stop the sorcery-related torture and killing of women.
Justice Catherine Davani told an International Women's Day lunch in Canberra of a spate of torturing and killing of women in PNG suspected of being sorcerers.
Last month, Kepari Leneiata, 20, a young mother who was also known as Angelin, was stripped, tortured with a hot iron poker and burned alive before a crowd of onlookers, including children.
They had accused her of using sorcery to kill a six year-old boy.
The murder triggered international outrage, with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill joining the United Nations, the US and Australia in describing the crime as barbaric.
Justice Davani told the lunch on Friday that Australia could help.
"If AusAID were to assist the PNG government in curbing and alleviating the torturing and killing of women in PNG suspected of being sorcerers, then the suggestion is to assist enhanced investigating powers of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary," she said
"Of course, the policemen can be trained on how to enact investigations."
"I believe very strongly that Australia will be making a major and very useful contribution toward the protection of women and women's lives if this were done for Papua New Guinea."
Comment was being sought from AusAID.
As many as 100 people were arrested recently in connection with the horrific burning murder of Ms Leneiata in the Western Highlands city of Mt Hagen.
Police had been under pressure to make arrests after photos in both of PNG's daily national newspapers appeared to show hundreds of witnesses watching Ms Leneiata burn.

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