IN 1991 the Papua New Guinea Parliament reintroduced the death penalty. Direct killing by the State became an authorized way to punish a criminal.
In 2013 the Criminal Code was changed to set out the acceptable ways to do it: to hang, suffocate, electrocute, shoot or poison someone with a deadly injection. The government argued that this is the best way to protect society from the repetition of terrible crimes.
When Malipu Balakau, a politician, was murdered in 1989 and when Kepari Leniata was burned to death in 2013, people reacted by saying that the killer deserved to be killed.
It is in response to this political legislation and this popular reaction that we, the bishops of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, are addressing this letter in defence of life to the leaders of our nations but also to all those who want to do what God wants of us and to promote a genuine peace and order in our communities.