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Amnesty International welcomes decrease in Caribbean death sentences

SAINT Lucia is among five English-speaking Caribbean countries that have commuted their remaining death sentences in in the past five years, according to Amnesty International. The global human rights watchdog, in a public statement, named the other countries as Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica.

Amnesty disclosed that their death sentences were commuted between 2013 and 2017.

The organisation observed too that as of the end of last year, over 96% of all those on death row in the English-speaking Caribbean were held in three countries alone, Barbados (13%), Guyana (32%) and Trinidad and Tobago (52%).

Amnesty listed the three as countries that retain the mandatory death penalty in their legislation.

The human rights group noted that international law prohibits the mandatory imposition of the death penalty.

“It removes from judges the possibility of considering any mitigating factors at sentencing in relation to the circumstances of the offence and of the offender,” the Amnesty International public statement said.

The organisation however noted that figures on the use of the death penalty in the English-speaking Caribbean indicate that there has been a significant reduction in the application of this punishment in recent years.

It observed that the overall decrease in the death sentences in the region fully reflects global trends on the death penalty.

According to Amnesty, in the past decade 13 countries have repealed the death penalty completely from their national legislation and a further two have become abolitionist for ordinary crimes, such as murder, retaining it only for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances, for example at time of war.

Additionally, it noted that six US states – Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico and Washington – have all abolished the death penalty since 2008.

“During the same period, 16 more countries undertook an irreversible commitment under international law to abolish the death penalty,” Amnesty explained.

1 Comment

  1. While you are celebrating the reduction of death penalties, the small Island states like St.Lucia
    are mourning the death of victims of murderers almost on a daily basis, all due to mistakes and
    ridiculous Laws of certain so-called advanced nations. There are drug dealers who wouldn’t think
    twice in killing, if you cross them. A thief wouldn’t hesitate to kill, when cornered, etc, etc.there is
    a whole generation of young men in Prison, serving time for this offence, and when they are out
    may not be able to travel due to their record, then what happens to poor Islands like St.Lucia?
    I’m a hard liner when comes to crime in St.Lucia, you kill – you hang – you steal, you’re whipped.
    Rules for an under aged girl killing a rapist, no jail time but given counselling appropriately..Read
    the book by – Ludovic Kennedy “Ten Rillington place” you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

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