Pitcairn rapists convicted but not jailed

Pitcairn Island, population 47, is one of the most remote place in the world, inhabited by descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty who washed up there in the 18th century. More than half the men on the island were accused of systematically raping the young girls on the island, in charges going back more than 40 years (they claim that this "tradition" merely follows the Bounty mutineers' example set with their Tahitian brides). Now six of the seven accused have been convicted, though formalities are keeping them out of jail for the moment.

Pitcairn, with an area of just five square kilometres, has no safe harbour and is too rocky for an airstrip. It has no paved roads, no sewage treatment system and no landline telephones.

Visitors must fly to an outlying French Polynesian island and then travel by boat for 36 hours to get there, ending their journey in a longboat, riding the surf that crashes on to the island.

Islanders fear that the Pitcairn community, with a population of only 47, will not survive if the six are jailed.

Many of the men operate the island's only boats, which are lifelines to the outside world, ferrying in essential supplies.


(Thanks, Cyrus)

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