Denounce Torture of Suspects in Police Custody


Target: Adriel Brathwaite, Minster of Home Affairs and Attorney General

Goal: Ensure the safety and well-being of two men tortured by police, and encourage Barbados to fall into line with UN anti-torture regulations

The recent brutal torture of two men in police custody has human rights workers deeply concerned about the men’s health and safety. Sign the petition and demand that the men be protected and offered adequate medical attention, and urge Barbados to conform to United Nations guidelines on the prevention of torture.

They are robbers: Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley will freely admit that. The two men turned themselves in at the Hastings police station in Christ Church, Barbados. They brought their lawyer with them, confessed to robbing an arcade, and entered into police custody after their lawyer arranged for a doctor to certify them as being in good health, Amnesty International reports.

Four hours later, things had changed drastically. When the lawyer returned, responding to an urgent call from Mottley, he found his client with a split lip and vomit around his mouth. Not long after, Mottley began foaming at the mouth and passed out. Initially, the lawyer’s pleas for medical attention were ignored, but eventually Mottley was taken to the hospital and treated by a general practitioner, who prescribed him anxiety medication. Mottley later told his lawyer that police had wrapped him in plastic wrap and beaten him. The lawyer was not allowed to see Headley until he was transferred to another police station later that evening. When he did establish contact with his client, Headly told him he had been hit repeatedly in the head with what he thought was a book.

The men claim that their torture was an attempt to coerce them into confessing to other robberies and to sign an admission that they carried guns during the arcade robbery. They did not admit to other robberies but did sign off on having guns, a fact that they later denied.

Barbados has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the definition of torture under Barbadian law is worryingly vague. Sign the petition demanding justice for Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley, and urge officials in Barbados to take a strong stance against torture.


Dear Minister,

Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley readily admitted to the crime of which they were accused. It was when they refused to confess to other crimes–crime they claim they did not commit–that they were severely tortured by police. Torture is unacceptable under any circumstances, and Barbados must immediately clarify its stance on torture once and for all. I demand that  Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley be safe from any further ill-treatment while they remain in custody, that they be allowed access to independent medical care, and that all allegations of torture be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Mottley and Headley turned themselves in to the Hastings police station in Christ Church after hearing that they were wanted for the robbery of an arcade. The two arrived at the station with their lawyer, who had documentation of the pair’s good health when he left them in police custody. Just four hours later, Mottley placed an urgent call to his lawyer who, when he arrived at the station, found his client with a split lip and vomit on his mouth. Mottley began foaming at the mouth and passed out shortly thereafter. The lawyer was denied access to Headley until later in the day, but when he was allowed contact Headley told him that he had been beaten with a blunt object, probably a book. The men said that police wanted them to confess to other robberies–which they refused to do–and to admit to carrying guns during the arcade robbery, which the men confessed to but later denied.

Torture makes confessions inadmissible, undermines the justice system, and violates individual human rights. It is imperative that  Adrian Mottley and Jamar Headley be protected from harm while they remain in custody and that their medical condition be addressed. Furthermore, I demand an investigation into their allegations of torture and encourage Barbados to work with the UN in the adoption of anti-torture measures already in effect around the world.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: CaribDigita via Wikimedia Commons

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