Grenada 14 sentences commuted

August 21, 1991

Grenada 14 sentences commuted

The government of Grenada has commuted the death sentences on Bernard Coard and 13 others convicted of murdering former prime minister Maurice Bishop.

The 14 have denied responsibility for the killing of Bishop after he was replaced as prime minister by a rival faction of the ruling New Jewel Movement. The removal and subsequent murder of the popular Bishop and seven other prominent New Jewel and government leaders paved the way for the United States invasion of the island in October 1983. Up to 50 others died when army personnel fired on a crowd which had freed Bishop from house arrest.

After the invasion, the US installed a compliant government that reversed many of the positive steps taken by the New Jewel government between 1979 and 1983. These included land reform, a literacy campaign and a system of democratic political discussion and administration.

The commutations follow worldwide criticism of the trials of the 14 by prominent jurists and others, including former US attorney general Ramsey Clark.

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