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Tonga: Cat 'O' Nine tails flogging sentence-'Deplorable'

Responding to the decision taken by Tonga’s Supreme Court Judge to sentence two men to 13 years in jail and six lashes for escaping from prison and stealing while on the run, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher Apolosi Bose said:

“This sentence passed by the Tongan Supreme Court is deplorable. Amnesty opposes flogging as it is a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment which has been banned by international law.  The severity of the pain and suffering often means that whipping is in fact a form of torture.  

“As well as that the practice is humiliating and leaves not only physical scars but also psychological damage.

“We strongly urge the government of Tonga to repeal the legislative provisions which allow for flogging. We also hope that the Tongan Court of Appeal will allow the appeal against the sentence."

The two men are reported to have been sentenced to 13 years in jail and six lashes by British Supreme Court judge Robert Shuster. The sentence has already been condemned by human rights organisations within Tonga, who have described it as inhumane.

The men are appealing the penalty.

Flogging was introduced by the British and is still legal on the islands, though it hasn't been used since the 1980s.

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