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Amnesty urges nation to stop hanging drive
Amnesty International has urged members of Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliament to vote against a Constitutional Amendment Bill which would allow executions to be resumed. Under the proposed bill, scheduled to be debated tomorrow, courts across the country would be able to circumvent judicial rulings that enhanced human rights protection and resulted in a halt to executions in 1999. Authorities In T&T claim carrying out executions is a way to tackle rising numbers of murders and deter others from committing violent crime.
“T&T has a real problem with murder and violent crimes but experience has shown that facilitating executions is not the solution,” said Chiara Liguori, researcher on T&T at Amnesty International. He added: “Hurrying executions or ignoring appeals already in progress violates defendants' rights by denying them due process guaranteed under international law. “The proposed bill will allow people to be executed even if they were appealing against their sentence, which is their right.
“We urge Parliament not to accept the proposed bill and instead tackle the root causes of violent crime and reform the police and justice systems. “What may seem a technical change in the constitution is in fact a matter of life and death for many people.” More than 40 people are currently on T&T’s death row.
In 1984, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council said an execution should not be carried out if there is any appeal or recourse procedure pending in the case. The new bill would circumvent this principle and allow for expedited executions. T&T is one of 93 countries in the world which retains the death penalty for ordinary crimes.
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