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Amnesty wants authorities to probe complaint by prisoners

A horror story of torture and abuse has landed Barbadian lawmen in the spotlight, as Amnesty International today released the details of a damning account by two criminal detainees, who have alleged that they were severely beaten while in their custody.

In a statement today, the human rights watchdog called on the Barbados authorities to immediately initiate “an independent investigation” into allegations that 33-year-old Jamar Antonio Headley of the Ivy Main Road, St Michael and Adrian Romario Mottley, 19, of Watermill Place, Bayville, St Michael were “tortured and their confessions obtained under duress and bring those responsible
to justice”.

Headley and Mottley were formally charged this week with the March 12 aggravated burglary of the Play Fair Arcade in Rockley, Christ Church.

According to Amnesty, on March 17, Mottley and Headley, in the company of their lawyer, presented themselves at the Hastings police station in “good health”, as certified by a doctor.

But hours later, Mottley’s lawyer Brian Clarke reportedly received a call from his client requesting his urgent presence.

“When the lawyer arrived, he saw that Adrian Mottley was in distress, he had a split lip and had vomit on his mouth. Shortly afterwards he fainted and began foaming at the mouth, ” Amnesty claimed in the statement.

It said after receiving medical attention, Mottley later told his lawyer that “police officers had wrapped him in plastic wrap from his feet up to his neck and then [beat] him around the body.”

The Amnesty statement went on to reveal that the second accused, Jamar Headley also suffered at the hands of lawmen.

“Jamar Headley told his lawyer that he had been hit about the head by a blunt object be believed to be a book.”

The two men, who have confessed to the robbery, have further charged that “they were beaten to coerce them into admitting responsibility for other robberies and they were eventually forced into signing a confession saying that they were carrying a firearm during the arcade robbery, something which they deny.”

Asked by Barbados TODAY to comment on the report, police public relations pfficer, Inspector David Welch would only say that the information was engaging the attention of Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith. He could offer no further comment on the matter.

Attorney General and Minister and Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, who was approached for comment as he was about to re-enter Parliament for debate on the 2014-2015 Estimates this evening, said he could say very little at this stage.

”I have received it [the Amnesty Bulletin] this evening. I have been in Parliament. I have sent it onto the Commissioner of Police and I’ll deal with it sometime next week. I really can’t tell you other than I have received the letter,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Efforts to reach Clarke were unsuccessful.

However, both men are scheduled to reappear in court on April 16.

In the meantime, Amnesty has pointed out that Barbados was yet to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“During the Universal Periodic Review of Barbados’ fulfilment of its human rights obligations and commitments before the UN Human Rights Council in 2013, Barbados stated that it was unable to accept recommendations to sign the convention as it was not in a position to meet all the obligations contained in the treaty,” it said.

The international group also noted that as far back as March 2007 the UN Human Rights Committee had expressed concern about the lack of a legal definition of torture in Barbados’ domestic law and recommended that the country introduce a legal definition compatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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