Injured Men Lodge Class Action Suit Against

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

PNG Police
Officers allegedly threatened 74 at gunpoint before assault

By Imelda Wavik

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 5, 2013) – Seventy-four men have joined with the Lutheran Church to bring a class action against Papua New Guinea’s police and government after becoming victims of a mass police brutality in Port Moresby recently.

The men, all residents at Saraga settlement at 6-Mile in National Capital District, are nursing their injuries at the Lutheran care center at Six Mile after being brutally beaten and injured by policemen.

It is alleged that these men were returning from Eight-Mile settlement after retaliating following the death of a relative when they were assaulted by officers in five police vehicles near Erima. A victim, Okom Geso, told the Post-Courier that they were returning after a group of law enforcers had asked them to settle down and not to take further actions against the perpetrators.

He said their weapons were concealed as they made their way home when five different police vehicles sped toward them and officers jumped out with guns and threatened to shoot them. "After threatening us at gunpoint they forced us to lie face down and without warning they started beating us with sticks and later hacked at our legs with our own weapons," Mr. Geso said. The 74 men were forced to walk from Erima to Gordons police station with blood dripping from their injuries and were all locked up in the police cells without medical attention.

Mr. Geso described the scene as unbelievable as they were seated in their own pool of blood and some were even in their soiled clothes without medical attention for a whole day. Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) president Pastor Qogi Zonggor expressed his disappointment towards the law enforcers, calling them hypocrites.

He said police officers are obligated to protect citizens and enforce laws and not to hurt and victimize them for no reason at all.

"Hacking all 74 men and treating them like animals is by far the most gruesome act by police and it is against human rights," he said.

Mr. Geso said if there was any wrong doing by the men then police officers as law enforcers were obliged to deal with them the right way and not to attempt a massacre. Further actions will be taken against these officers as this incident has reached the people in authority.

Pastor Zonggor also said that a petition will be raised with the Prime Minister regarding police brutality which is against human rights.

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