Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1995 - Barbados, 1 January 1995, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa004.html [accessed 30 July 2014]
This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
A decision was handed down on the case of Ryan Jordan who died in police custody in 1992. At least two death sentences were imposed; there were no executions and 21 people remained on death row at the end of the year. Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford of the Democratic Labour Party lost a vote of confidence in June. A general election in September was won by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) led by Owen Arthur, who became Prime Minister. In its election manifesto the blp had committed itself to the use of the death penalty and the reintroduction of corporal punishment. The decision of the inquest in the case of Ryan Jordan, a 17-year-old who died in April 1992 allegedly as a result of injuries sustained while being interrogated by police, was delivered in September (see Amnesty International Reports 1993 and 1994). The coroner noted that the death had been caused by bruising of the left lung and heart, and kidney failure under the influence of drugs. He found no evidence of cruel or unusual punishment and concluded that the fundamental human rights of Ryan Jordan had not been violated. However, he returned an open verdict. At least two people were sentenced to death; there were no executions. The government had still taken no steps at the end of the year to implement the November 1993 decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in London, the final court of appeal for Barbados. The JCPC had ruled that execution after more than five years on death row constitutes "inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment", and that prisoners held on death row for more than five years should have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. By the end of 1994 at least six prisoners had spent over five years on death row and should have had their sentences commuted. Amnesty International wrote to the Attorney General in March calling for steps to be taken to commute the relevant death sentences under the JCPC ruling and also urged him to commute all death sentences.