PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 14/07/98
EXTRA 76/98 Death Penalty 13 October 1998
THE BAHAMASTrevor Nathaniel Pennerman Fisher (see EXTRA 72/98, AMR 14/06/98,
6 Oct 98)
Trevor Fisher and Richard Woods are scheduled to be hanged in the Bahamas on
Thursday 15 October 1998.
Their executions have been scheduled despite the fact that the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), who is currently considering petitions
submitted by the two men, had requested the government preserve their lives
until a decision had been reached. In their petitions, the men allege that
their internationally protected human rights, under the American Declaration
on the Rights and Duties of Man (American Declaration), have been violated.
It is the role of the IACHR to determine if this is the case.
The petition to the IACHR on behalf of Trevor Fisher was filed on 7 June 1996.
It alleges violations of his rights under the American Declaration including
a delay of over three years from the time of his arrest to the commencement
of his trial, appalling conditions of detention endured throughout that period,
and the fact that the death penalty is mandatory for all persons convicted
The petition to the IACHR on behalf of Richard Woods was filed on 28 August
1996. He claims that his right to a fair trial was violated and also that
a mandatory death penalty is contrary to the American Declaration.
Amnesty International is concerned that the scheduling of these executions
is counter to the government of Bahamas’ obligation as a member state of the
OAS to cooperate with OAS bodies, including the IACHR -- whose functions include
safeguarding the human rights of individuals, as enshrined in the American
Declaration. This also contributes to undermining the hemispheric regional
mechanism for international protection of human rights which has been developed
over the last 50 years.
Trevor Fisher was convicted and sentenced to death in March 1994 for the murder,
in 1990, of Durventon Daniels. His appeal against the conviction was dismissed
by the Court of Appeal on 10 October 1994 and by the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council (JCPC - the Bahamas highest appeal court, located in London),
in May 1996.
On 5 May 1998, the IACHR declared Trevor Fisher’s petition admissible and put
his case forward for consideration at the next session of the IACHR, scheduled
for 28 September to 16 October 1998.
This is the third time Trevor Fisher’s execution has been scheduled. The first
execution warrant was issued on 5 September 1996 and the second on 26 March
1998. Although motions issued to challenge the constitutionality of both
warrants whilst the IACHR petition was still pending were dismissed by the
JCPC, in its decision of December 1997 the court noted that the government
had agreed to respect it’s obligations to follow IACHR procedures.