By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 27, 2018 – A horrifying report Tuesday that an inmate at Her Majesty’s Prison in Basseterre, was allegedly shackled, beaten and broomstick shoved up his rectum.
If confirmed it would be the second known gross human rights violation of an inmate by officers inside Her Majesty’s Prison in St. Kitts and Nevis in as many months.
According to credible sources, Kevin Kelly of St. Paul’s, who is serving a three-year prison term for larceny, was shackled and beaten by three prison officers on or about March 21 in the area of the wash rooms. A fourth prison officer allegedly took a broomstick and pushed it up his rectum.
Kelly was reportedly admitted to the J. N. France General Hospital and discharged on March 24.
In February this year an inmate, Alistair Isaac suffered a broken leg when he received the full impact of a “scattershot bullet” fired by a prison officer.
A member of the Prison Enforcement Response Team opened fire on Isaac striking him in the leg.
Isaac was rushed to the Emergency Department at the Joseph N. France General Hospital where treated. His leg was placed in a cast and discharged.
There has been no response to that report from the authorities at Her Majesty’s Prison, the Ministry of National Security or Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, the Minister of National Security under whose portfolio the prison falls.
There is growing concern that several incidents have been covered up on the instructions of the authorities.
The principal international human rights documents clearly protect the human rights of prisoners. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereinafter, the Torture Convention) both prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, without exception or derogation.
Article 10 of the ICCPR, in addition, mandates that “persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.” It also requires that “the reform and social readaptation of prisoners” be an “essential aim” of imprisonment.
Several additional international documents flesh out the human rights of persons deprived of liberty, providing guidance as to how governments may comply with their international legal obligations. The most comprehensive such guidelines are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Standard Minimum Rules), adopted by the U.N. Economic and Social Council in 1957. It should be noted that although the Standard Minimum Rules are not a treaty, they constitute an authoritative guide to binding treaty standards.