Amnesty International Report 2003 - Saint Lucia
|Publication Date||28 May 2003|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2003 - Saint Lucia , 28 May 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3edb47da8.html [accessed 18 April 2015]|
Covering events from January - December 2002
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Pearlette Louisy
Head of government: Kenneth Anthony
Death penalty: retentionist
International Criminal Court: signed
There were reports of police brutality and excessive use of force. At least one person was sentenced to death and remained under sentence of death at the end of the year.
There were reports of police brutality and excessive use of force. No police officers were charged in connection with allegations of extrajudicial executions or excessive use of lethal force in previous years.
- In January, Martin Henry alleged he was beaten by nine police officers who arrested him at his home. Further assaults followed at the police station. Martin Henry was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing the police, and released the following day.
- Aloysius Emmanuel, a locksmith, was allegedly assaulted by police in January. He was working at a school when police officers arrived and assumed he was breaking in. Aloysius Emmanuel said the officers handcuffed him and then beat him until he was unconscious despite his attempts to explain that he was a locksmith.
- In June the charges against the police officer accused of beating and cutting Randy Blanchard in February 2001 were dismissed.
- The coroners' inquests into the fatal police shootings of Alfred Harding in 2000 and of Lucious Maurice in 2001 did not take place. In January the coroner's inquest into the fatal shooting by police of Paul Hamilton in 2000 returned a verdict of "death by misadventure".
There were reports that prison conditions amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Overcrowding remained severe. Prisoners were forced to sleep on stone floors without any sort of mattress. There were also reports of inadequate medical care for prisoners, lack of food and failure of the authorities to tackle inmate-on-inmate violence, including rape.
- In HM Prison in June prisoners set fire to parts of the prison reportedly in protest at the poor conditions. One prisoner was reported to have been shot in the leg by police during the disturbance.
At least one person was sentenced to death and continued to be held under sentence of death at the end of 2002. In March the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council upheld the previous decision of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal that the imposition of a mandatory sentence of death was in violation of the Constitution. The ruling is binding upon those countries which have the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal as their appeal court – Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Peter Hughes, the prisoner who lodged the appeal, was subsequently sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.
Human rights defenders
Human rights defenders continued to face an atmosphere of hostility. At least one lawyer was subjected to threats, including of rape, because of her defence of human rights.