By Caribbean News Now contributor
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Two men who are suspects in a robbery have reportedly been tortured while in police custody in Barbados. They have not received adequate medical treatment and remain at risk of further ill-treatment.
According to Amnesty International, on 17 March, Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley turned themselves in to Hastings police station in Christ Church, Barbados, after learning they were wanted by the police in connection with a robbery at an amusement arcade. Both men were accompanied by their lawyer, who ensured that his clients’ good health was certified by a doctor just before they were taken into police custody.
Four hours later, the lawyer received a call from Mottley, who requested his urgent presence. When the lawyer arrived he saw that 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. The lawyer pleaded for first aid attention but he was ignored, and Mottley was dragged out of the interview room and handcuffed. Eventually he was taken for medical attention, but instead of being taken to hospital he was seen briefly by a general practitioner who reportedly prescribed him medication for anxiety. 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 police refused to allow the lawyer to see Headley and was only able to see him later that night after he was transferred to another police station. Headley told his lawyer that he had been hit about the head by a blunt object he believed to be a book. On 18 March, Mottley and Headley’s lawyer filed a complaint regarding their ill-treatment at police headquarters.
The two men, who admit responsibility for the robbery, have said that they were beaten to coerce them into admitting responsibility for other robberies. They were eventually forced to into signing a confession saying that they were carrying a firearm during the arcade robbery, something which they deny. Their lawyer has stated that the two men are still being refused access to an independent doctor.
Meanwhile, another man, Earl Victor, has reportedly been held in custody in Barbados for some six years without ever being brought to trial. In fact, not only have the original (and reportedly false) charges laid against Victor by allegedly corrupt local police officers been dropped but, even though his mother has put up the required bail amount in relation to whatever charge or suspicion remains, he has still not been released from custody.
Having originally fled to Canada because of the false nature of the charges first laid against him, Victor was reportedly returned to Barbados from the United States in 2008 pursuant to an arrest warrant executed through INTERPOL (presumably by means of a so-called “Red Notice”).
INTERPOL appears to have been effectively duped into facilitating Victor’s arrest and return to Barbados to face fraudulently laid charges that have now been dropped but which have nevertheless allowed the Barbados authorities to continue to abuse Victor’s rights to this day, six years later.
Requests for comment in relation to Victor’s situation addressed to the Barbados authorities and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur for Barbados earlier this month have thus far been ignored.