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UA 389/93 - Jamaica: death threats / fear for safety / fear of torture or ill-treatment: Randolph Barette, Noel Phipps, Kevin Williams, Anthony Frazer, Wayne Spence, Rojer Josephs, Irvine Reynolds, Victor Francis, Nevilly Whyte, Paul Kelly, Clive Johnson,

, Index number: AMR 38/003/1993

The above named prisoners, held at St Catherine's District Prison, Spanish Town, have been receiving death threats from prison personnel. Recent events in the prison indicate that these threats have to be taken very seriously. 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.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 38/03/93
Distr: UA/SC
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
Adams.
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.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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.
2
Conditions in the prison have deteriorated over the years and relations between
prisoners and warders have become increasingly strained. There are allegations
of ill-treatment, destruction of prisoners' property, lack of medical care
when prisoners are injured. Prisoners have been killed or injured in prison
disturbances. Prison personnel are faced with a very overcrowded maximum
security prison, without the adequate resources. Amnesty International has
written to Jamaican authorities in the past regarding the killing of prisoners
- at least 12 in the past six years.
A meeting was held on 6 October between prison authorities, church and human
rights representatives and a delegation of prisoners. The meeting heard that
there was severe pressure put on the prisoners by a group of warders who had
refused to give them breakfast or to allow them out of their block and who
had made threats against their lives. The prisoners had started a hunger-strike
to protest what they argued were false allegations by the warders of having
found guns in their block.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes and airmail letters either
in English or in your own language:
- urging authorities to immediately take all necessary and appropriate measures
to protect the above named prisoners' safety (mention some of the names as
examples);
- calling on the authorities to ensure that prisoners are not subjected to
torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- urging authorities to initiate a full, independent and impartial inquiry
into the deaths of Neville Heath, Arthur Morrison, Rohan Joseph and Ricky
Burrell. The results should be made public and those found responsible should
be brought to justice.
APPEALS TO
1) Prime Minister
The Right Honourable P J Patterson, PC QC, MP
Office of the Prime Mininster
1 Devon Road
Kingston, JAMAICA
Telegrams: Prime Minister Patterson, Kingston, Jamaica
Faxes: + 809 929 0005
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
2) Minister of National Security
The Honourable K D Knight
Minister of National Security
P O Box 472
Kingston, JAMAICA
Telegrams: Minister of National Security Knight, Kingston, Jamaica
Faxes: + 809 922 6028
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
The Gleaner (newspaper)
7 North Street
Kingston, JAMAICA
Faxes: + 809 922 6223
Jamaica Council for Human Rights
3
131 Tower Street
Kingson, JAMAICA
and to diplomatic representatives of Jamaica accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 December 1993.

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