'Grenada 17' may walk free 23 years after Caribbean coup

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One of the most controversial armed conflicts of the cold war era and one which caused a rift between Britain and the US is to be revisited this week in a British court. The case will re-examine an episode that led to more than 100 deaths on the Caribbean island of Grenada and still has ramifications for the region today.

The 14 Grenadians sentenced to death for the assassination of the former prime minister Maurice Bishop more than 20 years ago are due to have their case for an appeal heard by the Privy Council.

In 1983 Maurice Bishop, the socialist prime minister of Grenada, was killed during a coup, along with 10 others, following a violent split within his party. The deputy prime minister, Bernard Coard, Bishop's childhood friend turned rival, declared himself prime minister.

Six days later, President Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada, claiming that 650 American students on the island were at risk. According to US figures, 45 Grenadians, 24 Cubans and 19 Americans were killed in the invasion.

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