Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Rights groups say lock-up detainees being tortured

Published:Tuesday | October 24, 2017 | 11:33 AMDebbie-Ann Wright

Human rights groups have told a human rights commission that in the absence of a legal framework for pretrial detentions, Jamaican lock-ups have morphed into long-term prisons, where inmates are often tortured.

The groups, Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and Amnesty International, appeared before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights yesterday in Uruguay.

Director at JFJ, Rodje Malcolm, says in the absence of a statutory framework for pretrial detentions, there have been excessive warrantless arrests with no remedy for challenging them.

He says even where there is a warrant, the situation does not improve.


In addition, Malcolm argues that the police often use the excuse of needing to hold an identification parade to hold persons for an extended period.

According to him, Jamaicans are being arbitrarily denied their right to freedom from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment while in lock-ups.

He contends that many inmates in detention centres are often subject to torture as these facilities are not governed by the regulations which exist at correctional facilities.


Director at Jamaicans for Justice, Rodje Malcolm

Yesterday's hearing examined alleged unlawful detention of persons by the Jamaican police.

However, the Government did not send a representative saying it disagreed with hearing being titled "Reports of Extrajudicial Executions and Excessive Use of Preventive Detention against Afro-descendants in Jamaica".

The government said it disagreed with the use of the word afro-descendants as more than 90 per cent of Jamaicans are afro-descendants and it therefore does not agree with the suggestion that these persons are being targeted by the police.

It also said it did not attend because it has no diplomatic representative in Uruguay.