Today's online version of the National newspaper (Tuesday 16th of February 2010) carries an arresting headline "Yali: out on parole" and the accompanying picture shows a bearded Yali who is fixed up with a nice suit and tie. That picture must have been taken when Yali was still the MP for Rai Coast before he was incarcerated in Beon where he was supposed to be serving 12 years in prison on account of raping a 17 year old girl who is known to him and his family.
The newspaper editors thought it wise to put in the front page alongside the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, who is an important and leading women leader in the Pacific Region, and who is in the country to drum up support for all kinds of issues affecting our women. While this is going on, the Parole Board thought it was fine to release a former MP who has been convicted of rape. Well done to the National for contriving this moral irony.
We should not be afraid to ask how much money the Parole Board members could have received to grant a parole to a legally proven and convicted rapist? This question appears to be framed as an accusation but it goes to show that the decision of the Parole Board has prompted all kinds of quesetions to be asked including the judiciousness of their decision.
Yali must not be allowed to hold public office ever again: he cannot be trusted especially when he has been convicted for raping a girl who is known to him and his family. Most of us would not want to see a convicted rapist appear as a leader in public office again. I hope the Ombudsman Commission will give a clear directive on this matter soon.
The Parole Board must explain the relative merits of their decision to grant Yali the parole. Yali's medical conditions should not be a reason to grant him parole. By granting parole to a leader who has been convicted of rape, the Parole Board has made the exercise of its discretion so discretionary and so the possibilities of its abuse becomes an open question. It doesnt just set a very bad precedent for future convicts who are serving time for rape, it makes the Parole Board appear to patronise rape itself. Rape is one of the violent crimes ever to be inflicted on our mothers, sisters and daughters and the Parole Board must not appear to have excused a convicted rapist. I feel strongly that the Parole Board has made a serious error in their consideration.
I urge all thinking Papua New Guineans to wage a strong moral campaign against the decision of the Parole Board. We must not allow rapists or other forms of violence and discrimination against women to be part of our society. I humbly submit that the Parole Board has erred in its judgement on this matter and that Yali should not be granted a parole.
We have to carry a crusade against this decision or else our COUNTRY would have no need Courts any longer because the decisions of the Courts to convict rapists would be easily undermined over time by an intellectually mediocre Parole Board.