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Bahamian convicted of rape appeals flogging

/ Source: The Associated Press

A Bahamian man who is to be flogged 10 times with a whip for raping a 6-year-old girl will appeal that part of his sentence, his lawyer said Monday.

Andrew Bridgewater was sentenced to the flogging and seven years in prison for attacking the girl. He will not seek to reduce his prison sentence but should be spared corporal punishment, defense attorney Wayne Watson said in an interview.

The whipping — from a whip made of nine, knotted cords — would come in two sessions spread over two weeks.

"Seven years was enough under law, but the cat-o'-nine-tails is harsh and inhumane," Watson said, noting that his client has shown remorse.

Prosecutors had sought a 14-year sentence last month in addition to flogging after Bridgewater pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with the child. The girl was hospitalized for more than two weeks after she was raped and left in an abandoned car last year.

Some Bahamians deplore the cat-o'-nine-tails as a legacy of slavery. The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association has denounced it as a "a vicious, obscene and sordid invention by white slave masters" that should be abolished.

Flogging brought back in 1991
Flogging was abolished in the 1980s, but lawmakers voted unanimously to bring it back in 1991. The punishment has since been carried out on only two occasions.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said during his first term in 1994 that corporal punishment makes the country seem barbaric: "The same tourists who come here and make sure that we have a good living, you will be amazed as to how many of them will regard us as savage people, as bush people, because we seek to get revenge."

Ingraham, again serving as prime minister, has not made any public statements about the Bridgewater case.

In October 2002, the London-based Privy Council, the highest appeals court for the former British colony of 300,000 people, ruled that while corporal punishment is degrading and inhumane, it is permitted under the Bahamian constitution.

Another Bahamian convict, Altilus Newbold, faces eight strokes of a rod — the only alternative form of corporal punishment in the Bahamas — in addition to 16 years in prison following his conviction for burglary and attempted rape of an 83-year-old woman. He has already filed an appeal.