Grenada - Amnesty International Report 2007

Human Rights in GRENADA

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Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Daniel Williams
Head of government: Keith Mitchell
Death penalty: abolitionist in practice
International Criminal Court: not ratified

The 'Grenada 17'

In June the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its report to Parliament. According to reports, the Commission called for "an appropriate opportunity for the 'Grenada 17' to access existing or established courts... which would studiously ensure the process of fair trial." The "Grenada 17" were convicted in 1986 following unfair trials of the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others in 1983. During the trial the defendants alleged that some of the statements used in evidence against them had been obtained under torture and there were serious concerns about the possible bias of judicial officials and jurors involved in the case. The Commission also called for efforts to be made to find the bodies of those who died during the coup and US invasion and to pay compensation to their families. The government had failed to take any steps to implement the Commission's recommendations by the end of the year.

In December the UK Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Grenada's highest court of appeal, heard a constitutional motion presented by the 13 members of the "Grenada 17" who remained in prison challenging the constitutionality and fairness of their detention. A decision was expected in early 2007. Three of the "Grenada 17" - Andy Mitchell, Vincent Joseph and Cosmos Richardson - were released in December after completing 20 years in prison. Their sentences had been reduced to 20 years for good behaviour. Phyllis Coard had been released in 2000 for health reasons.