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Saturday, June 5, 1999 Published at 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK

World: Americas

More hangings in Trinidad

Chadee: Hanged along with a fellow gang member

Three more members of a drug dealing gang have been hanged in Trinidad with further executions to follow.

Malcolm Brabant in Miami: The condemned men went to the gallows at hourly intervals
Clive Thomas, Robin Gopaul and Russel Sankerali were hanged one after the other on Saturday morning.

They were part of a ring led by drug lord Dole Chadee, who was hanged for murder on Friday along with two henchmen.

Chadee was the first convict to be executed in Trinidad in five years.

Another three gang members are scheduled to be executed in the capital, Port of Spain, on Monday.

Chadee "gave no trouble and went to the gallows", Prisons Commissioner Cipriani Baptiste said.

Joey Ramiah was hanged an hour later, followed by Rankhalawan Singh two hours after that.

Appeal denied

Malcolm Brabant in Miami: Chadee was briskly marched from cell to execution chamber
The executions went ahead after the Privy Council in the UK threw out an appeal against the death sentence by Ramiah and Singh.

The Law Lords of Britain's Privy Council - the final court of appeal from the courts in Trinidad and Tobago - held an emergency hearing to decide on the two men's plea for a stay of execution.

Joey Ramiah's lawyer, Kenneth Munro-Brown: "About 45% of Trinidadians are opposed to hanging"
All nine members of the drugs gang were sentenced to die between Friday and Monday.

Chadee and his gang were convicted three years ago for the murder of a family of four in a 1994 drug feud.

A lengthy legal battle to have their death sentences commuted to life failed at every turn.

The British Privy Council rejected an earlier claim by Chadee that hanging was a cruel and unusual punishment.

Death warrants

All nine were read death warrants last week for an unprecedented third time on the Death Row of the heavily guarded Royal Jail in Port of Spain.

The international human rights group, Amnesty International, has submitted a petition urging Trinidad and Tobago's President Arthur Robinson to "exercise the prerogative of mercy" and halt the hangings.

The petition is signed by more than 100 people, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Graves dug

Graves have already been dug for the gang in the prison grounds and their families were allowed to see them for the last time on Wednesday.

Correspondents say most Trinidadians have been keen for the executions to go ahead - the latest opinion polls show three-quarters of the islanders are in favour of hanging.

Security forces have sealed off the area around the prison to prevent any escape bids by the remaining members of the gang, who are regarded as the island's most dangerous criminals.

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