Jamaica: Visit by innocent man released from Florida's Death Row
'I have faced the prospect of my life being taken by the state for a crime I did not commit. No society should risk putting their fellow citizens through such an awful ordeal,' said Delbert Tibbs.
'No criminal justice system is immune from error. What happened to Delbert Tibbs is likely to be happening in Jamaica, where innocent people may have been sentenced to death as a result of unfair trials, poor legal representation and the acceptance of confessions extracted under duress,' Amnesty International said.
Since 1973, over 100 other condemned prisoners have been released from US death rows after evidence of their wrongful convictions emerged. Evidence that the capital justice system is also characterised by racial discrimination and arbitrariness continues to mount. 'Judicial systems are run by human beings and human beings make mistakes. It is inevitable that innocent people will be hanged in the Caribbean if the death penalty is implemented,' Delbert Tibbs added.
It is not known how many innocent people have been executed in the English-Speaking Caribbean region, but recent high-profile cases have seen a number of individuals acquitted in Jamaica on grounds of unsafe convictions.
'I know that the people of Jamaica face monstrous levels of violent crime,' said Tibbs. 'But killing people is not the answer.'
Amnesty International is urging Jamaica and other Caribbean states to follow the courageous decision of Governor George Ryan of Illinois, USA to commute the death sentences of all 167 people on death row in the state.
More information about our campaign against the death penalty is available online .