Controversy in Jamaica, as Government vows to reinstate Capital Execution
Amnesty International condemned through an advert published in Jamaica's main newspapers pressures to resume hangings in the Caribbean Island. As per the last reports from the English-speaking 2.6 million people nation, last year more than 1.000 people were murdered in a wave of violence arising out a growing drug trade.
"The anger and fear felt by the people of the Caribbean as they face the horrific violence perpetrated by criminals is understandable. However, the perpetuation of killing via the death penalty is not the answer; it only serves to continue the cycle of violence," Amnesty International said in the statement.
The London based human rights group urged Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to resist mounting pressure to reinstate Capital Execution. Patterson had announced he would call for a national referendum to determine whether or not to resume executions as a way to stop violence.
The widow and son of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu signed the letter. However, Jamaica's opposition supports Patterson's plans and is possible that the hypothetical referendum would back the initiative.
Amnesty International urged the political leaders of the Caribbean to follow the example the Governor of the US State of Illinois, George Ryan, who on 11 January 2003 commuted the death sentences of all condemned prisoners in the state. Four prisoners were released on the grounds of their likely innocence. Governor Ryan had previously been a proponent of the death penalty and had signed death warrants and overseen executions. Amongst his many reasons for the commutations, Governor Ryan cited flaws in the administration of the death penalty, such as the lack of safeguards against executing the innocent. Many similar flaws are present in the Caribbean but are ignored by governments.
In the past, Jamaica had tried to reinstate hangings, but was stopped by the decision of the Privy Council of the UK, the highest appeals court for British colonies. Jamaica is part of the Commonwealth, the successor of the British Empire.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
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