Negative autopsy of PNG editor questioned
Witnesses, photos suggest Rosalyn Evara had trauma, bruises from domestic violence
An autopsy finding no signs of trauma in the death of a Papua New Guinea editor should be independently reviewed, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. “We welcome the autopsy taking place, but challenge a preliminary finding that cause of death was undetermined”, says PFF Chair Monica Miller. A copy of the report from Chief Pathologist Seth Fose claimed to find no trauma, injuries or other issues. Miller says that there “are just too many witnesses to our colleague Rosalyn Albaniel Evara suffering severe domestic violence. “Photos taken after her death, and shown at her funeral, showed extensive bruising.” PFF joins calls from within the PNG media and wider community for an independent review of the preliminary findings. “We are advised from PNG that the chief pathologist, another attending doctor at the autopsy, and her alleged attacker, all come from Gulf Province. “Given how close ties of kinship are across PNG, this is a significant conflict of interest that could and should have been avoided.” Miller says PFF is speaking out against the preliminary finding because of risk that staying silent will send the wrong message. “At PFF, we usually restrict ourselves to issues around freedom of expression, not medical controversy. “But we must all, as colleagues, stay vigilant about anyone in circumstances surrounding the death of a working journalist.” To be effective, an independent review should undergo mediation, with support from the family, or risk suspicion of conflicts of interest.
Miller says she is also disturbed by reports that her newspaper, the Post Courier, has already shut down the email account for Evara. “What is in the email account that so urgently needs deactivating?” Again PFF joins calls from Papua New Guinea, for police to urgently seek forensic access to the account of Evara. “For the newspaper to deactivate what may include incriminating evidence amounts to an obstruction of justice.” “Any attempt to delete the contents of that account should be regarded with deep suspicion."