Jamaica: Moves to resume hangings: Amnesty International's concerns

By Amnesty International, , Index number: AMR 38/001/1993

The Jamaican authorities have announced that hangings will resume in February, following a review of the cases of more than 130 prisoners sentenced to death. Some have been on death row for 15 years. The cases were reviewed under a recent law which repealed legislation providing for a mandatory death sentence for murder. At least 85 cases have been reclassified as "capital murder"; those who have exhausted all avenues of appeal could soon be issued with death warrants. There are serious concerns about the fairness of both the review process and of the original trials. In six cases reclassified as "capital murder", the UN Human Rights Committee had recommended that the sentences be commuted. There are also concerns about possible mental illness and other mitigating factors.

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