Protest Over Detainee’s Alleged Rape

Women leaders in Kavieng led a peaceful protest march yesterday and presented a petition to provincial leaders, in relation to the alleged gang rape of a young female detainee.

The woman, who is the mother of a five-year-old girl, was allegedly raped by three police officers at around 2am on Monday.

Yesterday afternoon, the women leaders, including young men and women, handed the petition to the provincial administrator and a representative of the New Ireland governor.

Today, the courthouse and the provincial police commander received their copies of the petition.

The petition, dated January 25, highlighted that fearing for the woman’s safety, family members alerted police superiors that male officers were subjecting the young mother to sexual discriminatory remarks.

“She remained in the cell for about a month, ordered by police to sweep the cell, empty buckets and bottles of urine from males within the cell, cook for them and cut grass around the cell,” read the document.

“The senior magistrate had ruled that the victim be taken up to CIS last week after the first mention.

“This was, however, delayed by the police until after she was raped.”

After the incident, instead of taking the young woman to the hospital for a medical check, the law enforcers brought her over to the Kavieng Correctional Institution.

In the petition, the group demanded that:

  1. An independent investigation be carried out on this particular incident and any other past gender-based issues that have been dealt with by Kavieng police;
  2. All three policemen be arrested, charged and dismissed from the Royal PNG Constabulary;
  3. The condition and partitioning of the cells meet minimum acceptable standards of safely and hygienically accommodating female inmates;
  4. Those police officers who ordered the detainee to work in and around the cell be dealt with accordingly;
  5. The manner in which the victim was charged will have to be reviewed, including the charge itself;
  6. Given that her rights were violated by the entrusted authority, she should immediately be released without or with a reduced bail to await her court appearance in March;
  7. The young woman be compensated for the breach of her rights. Part of that compensation should include the waiving of the bail amount;
  8. RPNGC should review police officers before sending them to Kavieng
Carmella Gware