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Friday, November 6, 2009

West Indies May Restore Death Penalty

On Dec 19, 2008 St Kitts and Nevis hanged Charles Laplance for the 2006 murder of his wife — the first execution in the West Indies since the execution for murder of David Mitchell in the Bahamas in 2000.

Following Mitchell’s hanging there was a de facto ban on capital punishment in the English-speaking Caribbean in the wake of a 2000 ruling by the Privy Council, which lengthened the appeals process for those convicted of capital crimes to approximately five years. The five-year process effectively ended executions, as a separate law banned excessively long imprisonments for prisoners on death row.

Political pressures upon the Caribbean governments to respond to the sharp rise in crime has led to a restoration of capital punishment. In November 2008, the Jamaican parliament rejected a ban on capital punishment, with the Trinidad parliament following suit in February. The Bahamas legislature is currently debating restoring capital punishment. As of Sept 18, 2009 the West Indian nation recorded 59 homicides, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest reported last week.

Read the full report here.

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