Amnesty International Report 2002 - St Lucia
|Publication Date||28 May 2002|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2002 - St Lucia , 28 May 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3cf4bc050.html [accessed 26 January 2015]|
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Pearlette Louisy
Head of government: Kenneth Anthony
Population: 0.15 million
Official language: English
Death penalty: retentionist
There were reports of police brutality and excessive use of force. At least one death sentence was passed in 2001, and at least two men remained under sentence of death at the end of the year.
In elections held in December, the ruling Labour Party was returned to office with a slightly reduced majority.
There were reports that prison conditions amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Sanitation was poor, with an open pit for all prisoners to use as a latrine. Severe overcrowding was exacerbated by the large number of remand prisoners awaiting trial.
In February the government announced it would address unsatisfactory prison conditions by constructing a new prison in which "an emphasis will be placed on the rehabilitation of prisoners, rather than on the punishment of criminals". The government also claimed to be increasing the number of magistrates in order to reduce the time between arrest and trial.
- In March, the High Court overturned a July 2000 court order that shackles be removed from Alfred Harding, who had been kept continuously shackled for nearly a year, and the order granting him compensation. The High Court ruled that the original motion was "misconceived" and should have been dismissed by the original trial judge.
There were reports of police brutality and excessive use of force. No police officers were charged in connection with allegations of extrajudicial executions or the use of excessive lethal force in previous years.
- In February, 23-year-old Randy Blanchard alleged that he was beaten by three police officers. One of the officers also cut off his dreadlocks with a cutlass, cutting his head in the process. He was taken to a mental hospital by police officers and held there for a week; he had no record of mental illness. A police officer was charged with unlawful wounding, but had not been tried by the end of the year.
- In November, 39-year-old Lucious Maurice was shot dead by police officers in disputed circumstances. Officers claimed they shot him after he threatened them with a cutlass. However, members of Lucious Maurice's immediate family, who witnessed his death, claimed he was not posing any threat when a police officer shot him twice. According to media reports, an investigation into the allegations was initiated, but the outcome was not known by the end of the year.
- Coroners' inquests were ordered into the deaths of Paul Hamilton and Alfred Harding who were shot dead by police in 2000. Paul Hamilton was reportedly shot in the back following a chase. Alfred Harding was shot dead after escaping from custody. He was reportedly shot twice after being told to lie down by a police officer and was denied medical attention. However, the progress of the inquests and of inquiries into the killings was extremely slow and had not been completed by the end of 2001.
At least two men were held under sentence of death at the end of 2001. No executions took place.
Human rights defenders
At least one lawyer was subjected to death threats and intimidation because of her activities as a defence lawyer.
In February, the Prime Minister wrote to AI stating his government's commitment to the protection of human rights and expressing concern that AI sought to undermine "the integrity of governments which share your concern for the rule of law, justice and human rights". The Prime Minister did not reply to subsequent correspondence from AI.