EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 38/03/93
UA 389/93 Death threats / Fear for safety / 4 November 1993
fear of torture or ill-treatment
JAMAICA Randolph Barette, Noel Phipps, Kevin Williams, Anthony Frazer, Wayne
Spence, Rojer Josephs, Irvine Reynolds, Victor Francis, Nevilly
Whyte, Paul Kelly, Clive Johnson, Anthony Leelhong, Nicholas Henry,
Carl Sterling, Cevas Murray, Anthony Fraser, Lawson Richards,
Trevor Palmer, Fitzroy Smith, Easton Codner, Wayne Spence, Kevin
Williams, Andrew Peart, Garfield Peart, Junior Leslie, Michael
The above named prisoners, held at St Catherine's District Prison, Spanish
Town, Jamaica, have been receiving death threats from prison personnel. Recent
events in the prison indicate that these threats have to be taken very seriously,
and Amnesty International fears that the prisoners' lives may be at risk.
The prisoners listed are known to have complained about ill-treatment and the
conduct of specific warders, and now fear retaliation for having spoken out.
For example, Andrew Peart, reportedly complained several times about
ill-treatment inflicted by warders. His complaints were published in a local
newspaper which led to him receiving death threats from prison warders.
Similarly, Victor Francis had property destroyed by warders; after complaining
about this he allegedly received death threats from the warders. He has also
been ill-treated in the past.
Amnesty International believes that authorities should guarantee the
prisoners' security and ensure that they are not subjected to torture or other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; this would be in accordance with
Jamaica's obligations under international human rights treaties, including
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
During disturbances in St Catherine's District Prison on 31 October 1993, four
death row prisoners were killed and at least three injured. Some warders were
also injured. The prisoners allegedly had attempted to take two warders
hostage; fellow warders who came to the scene believed that their colleagues
were in danger and opened fire killing and injuring the prisoners. Those killed
were: Neville Neath, Arthur Morrison, Rohan Joseph and Ricky Burrell.
Tragically, at least the first two would have benefitted from the decision
issued by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (Jamaica's
final court of appeal) on 2 November that death sentences imposed over five
years ago should be commuted to life imprisonment. They were among those who
had received death threats.