Last Updated: Monday, 01 September 2014, 14:30 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2008 - Bahamas

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 28 May 2008
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2008 - Bahamas, 28 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/483e27793d.html [accessed 1 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Arthur Hanna
Head of government: Hubert Ingraham (replaced Perry Gladstone Christie in May)
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 332,000
Life expectancy: 72.3 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 12/10 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 95.8 per cent


People continued to be sentenced to death, but no one was executed. Reports of police abuses continued. The authorities deported several thousand migrants, the majority black Haitians; some were reportedly ill-treated.

Police and security forces – excessive use of force

Beatings and unlawful killings by members of the security forces were reported.

  • Kenneth Russell was shot dead by police during arrest on 3 September on the island of Andros. A coroner's inquest into whether justifiable force had been used had not been completed by the end of the year.
  • At the end of the year, Desmond Key remained in a coma after reportedly being beaten with a baseball bat by two police officers on 17 June in a Nassau police station. The officers were charged in connection with his beating in August. They were on bail awaiting trial at the end of the year.

Asylum-seekers and migrants

The authorities continued to deport migrants, the vast majority Haitians, in large numbers. Some were reportedly ill-treated. During the year, 6,996 migrants were reported to have been deported, of whom 6,004 were Haitian nationals.

  • On 4 May a Haitian migrant was shot in the thigh by a member of the Royal Bahamian Defence Force (RBDF) as a vehicle containing a group of suspected irregular immigrants was intercepted during an operation in the capital, Nassau. A court found that there was no evidence that the man had resisted arrest, as had been claimed, and that the RBDF did not have the legal authority to conduct such an operation without immigration officers present. At the end of the year the RBDF officer remained on duty.

Violence against women

The Bahamas has the highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to a Joint Report issued in March by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank.

Death penalty

New death sentences were passed during the year. A number of prisoners were awaiting a review of their sentences following a ruling in 2006 by the UK-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council abolishing mandatory death sentences for murder. In November, the Bahamas voted against the UN resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty. Following the vote, the Prime Minister spoke publicly of his hope for a return to executions in the Bahamas.

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