21 Dec 2008

Jamaican senate votes to keep death penalty

11:09 am on 21 December 2008

Jamaica's senate voted on Friday to retain the death penalty, a punishment that has not been carried out there for 20 years.

Ten senators voted in favour of keeping the death penalty and seven against with three abstentions, backing an earlier vote in the House of Representatives in November.

The issue is due to go back to the lower house when parliament resumes next year to consider a proposed amendment to bypass restrictions imposed by the Privy Council in London.

Jamaica has avoided carrying out the death penalty since 1988 under pressure from human right groups. Eight inmates are currently on death row.

There have been some 1,200 murders on the island (population 2.7 million) since the start of the year. Crime against children has also risen sharply.