2 Death Row Inmates Among Prisoners To Recently Escape From PNG Prisons

Correctional Services faces questions about what it doing to prevent jailbreaks

By Mirriam Zarriga and Pauline Sapake

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 10, 2018) – Two death row inmates, both murderers, are among 306 prisoners who have broken out of national jails and are still on the run. They two are Ben Simakot Simbu, 31, from Yangkok in West Sepik Province and Kepak Langa of Sangurap in Wabag, Enga Province. Simbu escaped from the Port Moresby General Hospital eye clinic in October last year while awaiting the death penalty at Bomana jail.

Langa escaped from Baisu jail in Western Highlands Province in 2015. Correctional Services yesterday confirmed Simbu and Langa have avoided recapture so far.

Simbu was convicted of raping a married woman in front of her two-year-old daughter and then using an iron bar to beat them both to death. This occurred in 2002 after the victim had refused to give him a live chicken on credit. He was sentenced in March 2004.

Correctional Services could not provide details of Langa’s crime.

The total number of escapees reported at large is 208 in 2015, 64 last year and 34 this year so far. On January 1, this year 29 escaped from Boram jail in East Sepik Province. Two were shot dead and 10 recaptured, while 17 are still at large.

On February 1, five prisoners escaped from Buimo jail in Morobe Province. Three are still on the run.

On February 2, 14 prisoners escaped from Buiebi in the Southern HIghlands.

The recent escapes have raised questions about what exactly the Correctional Services are doing to ensure no more prisoners, especially death row inmates, escape.

Earlier last year Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab said a major review of jail senior management was a priority.

To this date no word had been forthcoming about the review.

In regards to carrying out the death penalty, Attorney-General and Justice Minister Ano Pala told Post-Courier last year, the execution process had not been finalised.

"We are looking at the regulations and the procedures for the execution process," Mr Pala said.

Some methods of execution approved by Cabinet were death by firing squad, hanging and by lethal injection. But this is yet to be finalized.

PNG Post-Courier
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