UN agency calls for probe into Jamaican attorney’s murder

By Admin Thursday August 30 2012 in Caribbean
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KINGSTON: The United Nations’ refugee agency has requested police to fully investigate the slaying of attorney-at-law Clover Maxine Graham, a human rights activist who was abducted and murdered last weekend.


Graham, 56, who was Jamaica’s honorary liaison for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), was found in a field on Sunday with her throat slashed after police discovered her abandoned car in the Waltham Park Road area of Kingston.


Graham was described by UNHCR regional representative Vincent Cochetel as a ‘‘passionate human rights activist’’ who had worked with the UN agency since 1998, counselling asylum seekers and helping Haitian refugees.


‘‘She was always ready to give her time, energy, legal expertise and even her personal money to assist destitute refugees and asylum seekers in Jamaica,” said Cochetel.


Deputy Police Commissioner Glenmore Hinds said detectives were working to establish a motive in the slaying of Graham, who resided in Spanish Town and was also a citizen of the United Kingdom.


In 2007, Graham’s son Taiwo McKenzie and his girlfriend Jhanel Whyte were also found in a field with their throats slashed after taking medication and other supplies to men they had injured in a traffic accident. Two men were recently convicted of those murders, which came to be known as the ‘‘Good Samaritans’’ killings.


In addition to her work with the UN’s refugee agency, Graham was employed at a legal aid clinic at the University of the West Indies’ law school and also lectured at the island’s University of Technology.


Fara Brown, a colleague at the Norman Manley Law School, said she was deeply shocked by her friend’s killing and said Graham would not want people to dwell on the ‘‘horrific aspects of her demise’,’ but instead celebrate the life of service that she lived.


‘‘She was somebody who had really dedicated herself to the betterment of her fellow citizens,” said Brown. “She honestly made it a point of duty to help everyone she could and lived her life that way.”


Graham is survived by husband Rex McKenzie and their two daughters, Arusha, 26, and Zakiya, 23.

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