-two ranks in custody
THE GUYANA Police Force in a statement yesterday said it has launched an investigation into the alleged excessive use of force on prisoners by its members, and that two ranks who were recently accused of doing so have been arrested and are in police custody.
The statement comes in the wake of a rather explicit photograph carried on the front page of yesterday’s edition of the Kaieteur News under the equally graphic headline: ‘Torture – Teen experiencing hell in custody’.
According to the statement, their investigations have so far revealed that consequent upon the murder of former Region Three Vice-Chairman, Mr Ramnauth Bisram, one Deonarine Rafeik and another male, “who told the police that he was 18 years of age,” were arrested.
It goes on to say that having been arrested, the men at reference “were interviewed by two ranks attached to the Criminal Investigation Department who are alleged to have used excessive force on the prisoners, resulting in their receiving injuries.”
It says, however, that while the two suspects are still in custody, even after receiving medical attention, the two ranks who conducted the interrogation have been arrested and are themselves in police custody.
The investigations, the statement says, are being conducted by ranks of the Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility which is headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Heeralall Mackhanlall.
Meanwhile, said Kaieteur News article has elicited a statement from a group of concerned local lawyers pertaining to the issues of torture and denial of constitutional rights.
Following is an excerpt of that statement, with the attached signatures of the lawyers.
“The events surrounding the arrest, detention and subsequent torture of a fourteen-year-old minor and at least one other suspect while in the custody of the Guyana Police Force at the Leonora Police Station are as chilling as they are abhorrent.
The subsequent refusal by the Guyana Police Force to permit another brutalized detainee access to a legal advisor of his own choice, particularly an eminent Senior Counsel, for a period of four days is a flagrant violation of the guaranteed protected fundamental rights of the citizen, as set out in the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana by those whose primary duty is to uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The restriction and prevention by the Guyana Police of access by the media and other members of the public to a Magistrate’s Court while victims of police brutality were present in the Court are ominous signs of a cover-up and suppression of the publication of criminal activity by law enforcement officers.
We, the undersigned, wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the torture of a minor, and for a matter of fact, any other person while in custody by members of the Guyana Police Force.
We wish to record our unreserved condemnation of the Guyana Police Force of their refusal to permit the minor access to a legal advisor of his choice after his detention by the Guyana Police Force.
The restriction of access by the media to a public court by members of the Guyana Police Force where evidence of their acts of torture and violence is an unashamed attempt to suppress the dissemination of information to the public of criminal activity by members of the Guyana Police Force who are charged with the responsibility of protecting and serving the public. This enjoys our unequivocal condemnation.
We condemn crime in all forms and offer our sympathies to the victims of all crimes.
We make the following immediate demands:
1. The immediate institution of criminal charges against those responsible for the torture of the minor at the Lenora Police Station between the 27th and 30th October 2009.
2. The establishment of an independent public Commission of Inquiry into the following:
(a) Operational and structural procedures of the Guyana Police Force which led to the torture of a minor while in police custody.
(b) Operation and structural procedures which permitted these events to proceed undetected and unsanctioned.
(c) Operational and structural procedures which facilitated an Attorney at law being denied access to his client.
3. The immediate suspension of the Officer in charge of the investigation and the officer in charge of the station at which the minor was tortured during the conduct of the investigation into the events.
4. The immediate provision of immediate medical and psychological treatment to the victim of these horrific events.
1. Bernard De Santos, SC
2. CA Nigel Hughes
3. Vic Puran
4. Khemraj Ramjattan
5. Stephen Fraser
6. Mark Waldron
7. Glenn Hanoman
8. Pamela De Santos
9. Roger Yearwood
10. Ronald Burch-Smith
11. Gregory Gaskin
12. Anil Nandlall
13. Gino Persaud
14. Joseph Harmon
15. Robin Hunte
16. Kenita Cumberbatch
17. Deborah Kumar
18. Raphael Trotman
19. Peter Hugh
20. Satyesh Kissoon
21. Rexford Jackson
22. Moen Mc Doom, Jnr
23. Mishka Puran
24. Manoj Narayan
25. Tanya Warren