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Bahamas: Further information on death penalty: Trevor Nathaniel Fisher

, N° d'index: AMR 14/003/1998

Trevor Nathaniel Fisher is scheduled to be hanged in The Bahamas on Thursday 2 April 1998. The execution was scheduled despite the fact that Trevor Fisher has a petition pending with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 14/03/98
31 March 1998
Further information on Extra 146/96, AMR 14/10/96, 9 September 1996 and
follow-ups (AMR 14/11/96, 12 September 1996 and AMR 14/12/96, 9 October 1996)
- Death Penalty
THE BAHAMASTrevor Nathaniel Fisher
Trevor Nathaniel Fisher is scheduled to be hanged in The Bahamas on Thursday
2 April 1998.
The execution was scheduled despite the fact that Trevor Fisher has a petition
pending with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The IACHR
had requested a stay of execution as a precautionary measure whilst they
considered his claims that the authorities failed to guarantee his fundamental
rights set in the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man.
To execute Trevor Fisher while his petition to the IACHR is still pending would
violate the government’s obligation to ensure the protection of his fundamental
rights. The government has recently made assurances that it would respect
the regulations of the IACHR governing such petitions. Safeguard 8 of the UN
Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death
Penalty states “Capital punishment shall not be carried out pending any appeal
or other recourse procedure or other proceeding relating to pardon or
commutation of the sentence”.
The Bahamas is a Member State of the Organization of American States.
Accordingly, people who claim that the government of The Bahamas has failed
to guarantee a right set out in the American Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man may petition the IACHR seeking relief after they have exhausted
national procedures.
Trevor Fisher was sentenced to death on 25 March 1994 for the murder of Duventon
Daniels. His appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed on 10 October 1994.
His petition for leave to appeal as a poor person to the Judicial Committee
of the Privy Council(JCPC), the final court of appeal for The Bahamas located
in the United Kingdom, was dismissed in May 1996.
This is the second time Trevor Fisher has been moved to a death cell. He had
been scheduled to be executed in September 1996 but received a stay pending
a decision on a constitutional motion. This motion alleged, among other things,
that he had been denied a fair trial due to the long period, three years and
five months, he had been held in detention prior to trial. The motion argued
that this violated his constitutional right to trial within a reasonable time
and that, combined with the two and a half years he then spent on death row
following conviction, this would amount to inhuman punishment in violation
of the Constitution of The Bahamas. On 16 December 1997, the JCPC, the final
arbiter on the constitutional motion, ruled against Trevor Fisher.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The death penalty is mandatory for murder in the Bahamas. After a period of
12 years with no executions, the Bahamas resumed hangings in March 1996: Thomas
Reckley was executed on 13 March 1996 and Dwayne McKinney on 28 March 1996.
There have been no executions since that date.
2
In December 1997 in the course of deciding the case of Trevor Fisher, the JCPC
revised its 1996 ruling that executing a prisoner who had spent three and a
half years or more under sentence of death would violate the constitutional
prohibition against inhuman or degrading punishment. The JCPC’s December 1997
ruling concluded that the guideline period should be extended to five years,
in view of The Bahamas Government’s undertaking to respect individual’s rights
to petition the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In January 1998 it was announced that the sentences of death imposed on 17
persons who had been on death row for more than five years have been commuted
to life imprisonment.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please make urgent appeals by telephone/telegram/fax/
express letter in English or your own language:
- expressing deep concern that Trevor Nathaniel Fisher is due to be hanged
on 2 April 1998;
- urging that his death sentence be commuted and that no further executions
be carried out;
- pointing out that to execute him while his petition to the IACHR is still
pending and also after the IACHR had requested precautionary measures, would
violate his fundamental human rights (as stated in Safeguard 8);
- expressing sympathy for the victims of violent crime and their relatives,
but voicing opposition to the death penalty in all cases as a violation of
the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading
punishment, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You may also make some or all of the following general points: the death penalty
has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments;
it has a brutalizing effect upon all those who are involved in the process;
it does not necessarily alleviate the suffering caused to the victims of violent
crime; execution is irrevocable and, despite the most stringent judicial
safeguards, can be inflicted on the innocent.
APPEALS TO:
Governor General
His Excellency Orville Turnquest
Governor General
PO Box N-8301, Nassau, The Bahamas
Telegrams: Governor General, Nassau, Bahamas
Telephone: + 1 242 322 1875
Faxes: +1 242 322 4659
Salutation: Your Excellency
Attorney General
The Honourable Tennyson Wells
Attorney General
PO Box N-3007, Nassau, The Bahamas
Telegrams: Attorney General Wells, Nassau, Bahamas
Faxes: + 1 242 322 2255
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
COPIES TO:
The Honourable Hubert Ingraham
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Sir Cecil V. Wallace Centre
3
PO Box CB 10980, Nassau, The Bahamas
Faxes: + 1 242 327 5806 or 327 5807
The Tribune (newspaper)
Shirley Street, PO Box N-3207, Nassau, The Bahamas
Faxes: + 1 242 328 2398
The Nassau Guardian (newspaper)
PO Box N-3011, Nassau, The Bahamas
Faxes: + 1 242 325 3379
and to diplomatic representatives of Bahamas accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

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