|DR. RICHARD JOHN GIBSON,
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY,
Ramsey Clark hereby deposes an states as follows:
1. I am a citizen and resident of New York competent to testify in its courts. If called as a witness, I could testify as to the facts contained in this affidavit upon my own personal knowledge.
2. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed me as Attorney General of the United States. I served in that capacity until President Johnson left office in January, 1969.
3. After I left the office of Attorney General, I have continued to practice law throughout the United States and the world. I have had the privilege of representing many persons accused of political crimes in numerous countries throughout the world.
4. Among the persons I have represented are the 17 prisoners now confined in Richmond Hill Prison on the island of Grenada. I represented those defendants, including in particular Benjamin and Phyllis Coard beginning shortly after their conviction, until the current date. In the course of my representation, I learned many disturbing facts about the prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of these defendants, which are related below.
5. These 17 defendants are the surviving political leadership of the New Jewel Movement, which had ruled Grenada under President Maurice Bishop from 1979 until the U.S. invasion in October 1983.
6. When the United States invaded Grenada, it claimed as one of its justifications the assassination of Maurice Bishop and the murder of a number of persons who were present with him. It accused Benjamin and Phyllis Coard, Hudson Austin, and the 14 other surviving leaders of the New Jewel Movement of perpetrating this act.
7. In the wake of the invasion, the United States Army and other government agencies interrogated a number of witnesses and seized virtually all of the documentary evidence. Most of this material was never made available to counsel for the defense.
8. In 1985-1987, what was called a trial was held for the 17 surviving leaders.
9. This trial was held by a group of attorneys and judges appointed and paid for by the United States. It was not presided over by any constitutional court or other tribunal of the island of Grenada.
10. As the Reagan administration was deeply committed to the invasion of Grenada, and as the conviction of these 17 defendants was central to its rationale for that invasion, the picking of judges by the occupying power was a very serious violation of commonly accepted notions of due process of law.
11. The jury in the case was chosen under the most inflammatory circumstances imaginable by a person appointed by the prosecution after the illegal removal of the regi strar, who was normally charged with this duty. The jury was picked with no effort to probe for prejudice and no defendant or defense counsel present.
12. Motions to ensure a proper and fair jury were not heard until the trial court was ordered to do so for the third time nearly three years after the convictions.
13. During the course of the "trial," the prosecution presented its evidence without the defendants or defense counsel present and without cross-examination.
14. During the course of the trial, all but one of the defense counsel fled the country due to reported death threats.
15. Despite these incredible procedures, from my review of the record, there was no credible evidence that the members of the Central Committee of the New Jewel Movement ever ordered or even had the opportunity to order the murders of which they were found guilty.
16. The 17 defendants barely escaped execution after gallows had been erected, graves dug, burial clothes fitted, and a hangman from a neighboring island had arrived. Only a storm of international protest ranging from Mother Theresa to 50 members of the United States Congress forced the Advisory Committee for the Prerogative of Mercy to grant a commutation to these prisoners.
17. I have visited the prisoners in Richmond Hill Prison just outside the capitol of Saint Georges on numerous occasions.
18. I know from my own personal knowledg e that the sole female prisoner, Phyllis Coard, was segregated from all other non-political prisoners and from the remaining 16 defendants for many years. Her mental health has deteriorated seriously and from conversations with her psychiatrist and doctors, I am advised that she has no hope of recovering her mental health and sanity unless she is released from prison.
19. With regard to all of the 17 prisoners, their continued confinement in Richmond Hill Prison remains a central issue of politics and life in Grenada.
20. I have met with and discussed the case of the Grenada 17 with Dr. Richard Gibson on several occasions.
21. While I had no involvement in his request under the Freedom of Information Act, I concur in his belief that the need for the documents and other evidence seized by the United States authorities regarding the assassination of Maurice Bishop and the trial of the 17 Grenadian leaders is urgent both as a matter of human decency and as a matter of political and legal rights.
22. On behalf of the defendants, I have pending a petition at the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. In addition, newly discovered evidence could be used for a motion to reopen Prerogative for Mercy.
23. We have searched every other location for evidence. Any information which could be gleaned from documents produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency could be of extreme importance in any of these forums where relief is still possible.
Sworn to and subscribed to under the pains and penalties of perjury this 21st day of October 1997.
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