Amnesty International Report 1996 - St Vincent and The Grenadines


The first executions for four years were carried out when three prisoners were executed on the same day. Three prisoners remained under sentence of death.

Three prisoners were hanged for murder on 13 February, the first executions since 1991. The warrants were issued only four days before, allowing little time to appeal. Only when an attorney for one of the prisoners was alerted and lodged an unsuccessful application for a stay of execution did it become known that the prisoners were due to be executed.

It was believed that two of the prisoners, David Collins and Franklyn Thomas, had not been able to pursue final appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, the final court of appeal for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, owing to lack of funds. The third prisoner, Douglas Hamlett, had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death solely on the basis of an identification made by a 14-year-old boy who saw him from a distance in the rain.

Local human rights groups condemned the secrecy surrounding the execution process. They called on the government to allow death row prisoners the right to a hearing before the Mercy Committee before a decision was taken to issue execution warrants.

No death sentences were passed during the year. Three prisoners remained on death row.

Amnesty International wrote to the Prime Minister, James F. Mitchell, condemning the executions as a retrograde step and expressing concern at the secrecy and speed with which they were carried out.

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