Amnesty Internal supports charges against Jamaican police officers

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CANA is reporting that the London-based human rights group, Amnesty International, Friday welcomed the announcement that charges have been laid against six members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) following a six and a half year probe into the shooting death of Matthew Lee.

“We welcome the Independent Commission of Investigations’ continuous and determined efforts in investigating the killing of Matthew Lee. It is now in the hands of the Jamaican justice system to act effectively in the light of this case.

“The victim’s family’s dignified pursuit of justice is an example of how to dismantle a culture of fear that has allowed the police to get away with unlawful killings for decades,’ Amnesty said in a statement.

Amnesty said police killed Matthew on January 12, 2003 in Kingston’s affluent Arcadia community, when he was returning from a police station with two men, one of whom had gone there to fulfil a condition of his bail.

Amnesty said it had documented Matthew’s case in 2016.

“For decades, Jamaican communities, especially those in disenfranchised inner-city neighbourhoods, have been scarred by an epidemic of unlawful killings by police.

“Amnesty International documented how the failure of the state to bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice have a profound and lasting impact on their loved ones. Their relatives, and in particular their women relatives, are left to face a long struggle for justice, as well as frequent intimidation and harassment by the police,” the human rights group said.

The statement quoted Matthew’s sister, Simone Grant, as saying “it’s a small drop in the bucket for the family, as Matthew will never come back to us, but it’s a giant leap for the cause and we can only hope this will cause the police to think twice and be more responsible when carrying out their duties”.

The officers were arrested earlier this week following a ruling by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that was made based on a probe by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) into the killing of Lee, Mark Allen and Ucliffe Dyer.

One of the six police officers has also been charged with making a false statement to INDECOM. They appeared before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court and were granted bail in the sum of J$600,000 (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) each, with sureties.

The matter is set for mention on September 30, this year.

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