Wartoto admitted back to hospital

Convicted Kokopo businessman Eremas Wartoto, who is serving a 10-year jail term at Bomana, was admitted at the Port Moresby General Hospital on Tuesday, a court has been told.

His admittance follows interim orders that were issued by the Waigani National Court on 23 February by Human Rights judge, Justice David Cannings.

The interim order allowed for urgent medical attention to be given for his “deteriorating medical conditions”. 

Wartoto, who was sentenced on 23 June 2017, was in hospital from March 2017 to 10 January 2018 when he was taken back to Bomana without being formally discharged.

He was among those prisoners who were removed from the hospital on 10 January on orders from the Correctional Service Commissioner, Michael Waipo.

He said he was “forced” to come to court to request to be away from prison due to his medical condition.

His lawyer Paul Pori Yange said during that time, he undertook two surgical procedures; one on his eye and for a growth on his anus.

Wartoto also suffers from chronic hypertension or high blood pressure. He had a heart condition prior to his conviction.

Yange informed the court he was admitted back at the Port Moresby General Hospital’s Sir Buri Kidu Heart Institution yesterday afternoon.

The court today allowed the interim orders to continue for Wartoto’s “urgent medical treatment” but the obligation is on Wartoto to show if he should remain in hospital based on medical evidence.

The matter will return to court for review at the end of March where Wartoto is to give updated medical evidence of his conditions.

Yange was also told the onus was on him to take the human rights proceeding to trial.  

Pending declarations he is seeking in the human rights case, he is asking orders for his absence from the prison facility till he is formally discharged by doctors.

Bomana Jail Commander Haraha Kiddy Keko did not object to the orders continuing but stated through his affidavit that Wartoto has been in hospital since his conviction (29 March 2017) despite the order of the Criminal Court for him to serve that sentence in prison.

Commander Keko also stated there is an administrative process in place for inmates to follow if they want to get treatment at the hospital.

Justice Cannings reiterated that if prisoners are seriously ill, they have the right to be treated with humanity and respect and do not lose their rights after sentence.

Sally Pokiton