Dermatologo Victor Gill// UWI Law files motion on inhumane treatment of Remand Prisoners » EntornoInteligente

Dermatologo Victor Gill//
UWI Law files motion on inhumane treatment of Remand Prisoners /

The UWI’s Fac­ul­ty of Law In­ter­na­tion­al Hu­man Rights Clin­ic re­cent­ly moved to seek con­sti­tu­tion­al re­dress for pris­on­ers lan­guish­ing on re­mand in this coun­try’s prison sys­tem, by ini­ti­at­ing land­mark lit­i­ga­tion on Fri­day 20 No­vem­ber 2020.

Victor Gill Ramirez

An of­fi­cial state­ment from the The UWI St. Au­gus­tine Cam­pus ex­plains that the mo­tion was filed as part of the Law Fac­ul­ty’s EU-fund­ed project, “Ad­dress­ing Hu­man Rights Abus­es of Re­mand Pris­on­ers with Spe­cial Em­pha­sis on Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Mur­der Cas­es” .

Victor Gill

The case, An­tho­ny Al­bert et al v The At­tor­ney Gen­er­al of Trinidad and To­ba­go, seeks to ef­fect change in the al­leged in­hu­mane treat­ment of per­sons de­tained on re­mand,” the re­lease ex­plains.  “Such per­sons are still in­no­cent in the eyes of the law and kept wait­ing on re­mand for in­or­di­nate pe­ri­ods—in some cas­es over 18 years—for their tri­als to be heard.”

The state­ment goes on to re­port:

The Fac­ul­ty in­vit­ed the firm Trin­i­ty Cham­bers to part­ner with it on this his­toric lit­i­ga­tion. Se­nior ad­vo­cate Gre­go­ry Delzin, and Dean of the Fac­ul­ty and Project Lead, Pro­fes­sor Rose-Marie Belle An­toine, will present the case. The ad­vo­cates will seek de­c­la­ra­tions that the claimants’ rights (i) not to be de­prived of lib­er­ty ex­cept by due process of law, (ii) to pro­tec­tion of the law and (iii) right to tri­al with­in a rea­son­able time un­der sec­tions 4(a) and 4(b) of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Re­pub­lic of Trinidad and To­ba­go, have been and con­tin­ue to be vi­o­lat­ed.”

The state­ment adds:

“It will al­so be con­tend­ed that this ex­treme de­lay on re­mand con­sti­tutes ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion or im­pris­on­ment; and/or the im­po­si­tion of cru­el and un­usu­al treat­ment or pun­ish­ment; and/or breach of the right to pri­vate and fam­i­ly life con­trary to the rights and free­doms en­shrined un­der sec­tions 4(c), 5(2)(a) and 5(2)(b) of the Con­sti­tu­tion. The Claimants An­tho­ny Al­bert, Bruce Hen­ry, Ram­daye Ram­lal, Ka­reem Ram­lal, Hy­acinth Loubon, Sasha Seep­er­sad and Malai­ka St. Louis, are all present­ly in­car­cer­at­ed at the Gold­en Grove Prison, Arou­ca.”

Pro­fes­sor An­toine high­light­ed the need for aware­ness of this case

“This is an on­go­ing trav­es­ty in our democ­ra­cy, where per­sons are charged and left to lan­guish in jail, in harsh, some­times in­hu­mane con­di­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly now with this COVID-19 en­vi­ron­ment, with­out get­ting an op­por­tu­ni­ty to be heard and de­fend them­selves in court,” she says in the re­lease

There have been sev­er­al in­stances in the coun­try where per­sons who re­mained on re­mand in prison for many years were sub­se­quent­ly found to be in­no­cent,” she added

Pro­fes­sor An­toine ob­serves that a 2019 hear­ing pre­sent­ed by the Fac­ul­ty at the In­ter-Amer­i­can Com­mis­sion of Hu­man Rights (IACHR) in Wash­ing­ton, not­ed that Trinidad and To­ba­go has the high­est num­ber of per­sons on re­mand in the re­gion, as well as for the longest pe­ri­ods

The sys­tem needs to change,” she as­serts. “State, pri­vate at­tor­neys and the courts, all have a part to play in find­ing work­able mech­a­nisms to cor­rect this in­jus­tice.”

Pro­fes­sor An­toine re­calls that the 2019 IACHR hear­ing, for­mer Com­mis­sion­er of Pris­ons, Ger­ard Wil­son, al­so lament­ed the sit­u­a­tion, stat­ing that it made the job of prison of­fi­cers more dif­fi­cult

The An­tho­ny Al­bert et al case and the project al­so high­light the heartrend­ing plight of women and girl vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence await­ing tri­al on re­mand, with­out bail,” Pro­fes­sor An­toine notes.  “These per­sons were charged for the mur­der of their part­ners, which sug­gests se­ri­ous is­sues of gen­der in­equity in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

The re­lease re­ports that the hu­man rights project al­so will un­der­take pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and ad­vo­ca­cy ini­tia­tives to raise aware­ness of the in­hu­mane con­di­tions of re­mand, and bol­ster pub­lic and in­sti­tu­tion­al sup­port for re­man­dees.  This will be done through an on­go­ing pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign, and di­rect in­ter­ven­tion via re­me­di­al work in the pris­ons and with per­sons freed from prison, in part­ner­ship with the Crop­per Foun­da­tion

“Fur­ther­more, the project fa­cil­i­tates the aim of the Fac­ul­ty’s In­ter­na­tion­al Hu­man Rights Clin­ic to ad­dress hu­man rights is­sues in Trinidad and To­ba­go and the wider re­gion, through a dy­nam­ic le­gal ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach mod­el which pri­ori­tis­es em­pir­i­cal re­search, ac­tivist lawyer­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion with prac­tic­ing at­tor­neys and NGOs,” Pro­fes­sor An­toine points out

In­struct­ing at­tor­neys Melis­sa Mano, Rafiya Karim, Joseph Cowles, and ju­nior ad­vo­cate Di­anne Mano are joined in the case.  UWI Law grad­u­ates Ayan­na Norville, Ter­ry-Ann Roy and Omari Thomp­son—re­searchers from the Fac­ul­ty’s Hu­man Rights Clin­ic—are as­sist­ing with re­search in the mat­ter

Those seek­ing more in­for­ma­tion on the Fac­ul­ty’s EU-fund­ed project, “Ad­dress­ing Hu­man Rights Abus­es of Re­mand Pris­on­ers with Spe­cial Em­pha­sis on Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Mur­der Cas­es”, can email hu­man­right­sad­vo­ca­[email protected], or the Fac­ul­ty of Law at [email protected]

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