EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 49/02/95
EXTRA 125/95 Corporal Punishment 26 October 1995
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGOClyde Lewis, aged 50
Clyde Lewis, also known as "Joe Daylight", has been sentenced to 10 strokes
with the birch.
Lewis was convicted of the rape of a 20-year-old woman in 1989 and was sentenced
to 10 years' imprisonment in addition to the birching. He appealed against
the sentence. The appeal was denied on 17 October 1995. Amnesty International
believes the sentence of flogging could be carried out in the immediate future.
Trinidad and Tobago's law provides for the use of corporal punishment as a
sentence imposed by the courts and also as a means of prison discipline.
Sentences of flogging are regularly imposed and at least four people have been
sentenced to corporal punishment this year.
Amnesty International believes that the use of flogging constitutes a cruel
and unusual punishment and as such is a violation of both the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations General Assembly's
Declaration in December 1975 on the Protection of all Persons from Torture
and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The use of corporal punishment contravenes a number of international human
rights standards to which Trinidad and Tobago is a party, including Article
7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 5(2)
of the American Convention on Human Rights. The latter states: "No one shall
be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. All persons
deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity
of the human person".
Corporal punishment is administered by a prison officer with a doctor in
attendance who can stop the punishment on medical grounds.
In April 1993 a Magistrate in Port of Spain imposed a sentence of flogging
on an 11-year-old boy, who had pleaded guilty to being in possession of cocaine.
The Magistrate ordered the sentence to be carried out immediately and her order
was put into practice by the police. The Magistrate further ordered the boy
to be confined and that he should receive no visitors.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please telephone or send telegrams/faxes/airmail letters
in English or your own language:
- expressing concern at the sentence of corporal punishment imposed on Clyde
- urging that if the sentence has not been carried out it be withdrawn on
- pointing out that the state of Trinidad and Tobago is contravening
international human rights treaties to which it is a party; please quote from
Article 5(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights;
- urging that no more sentences of corporal punishment be imposed and calling
for the punishment to be abolished in law.