US denies allegations surrounding cleric’s arrest
By Latoya Giles
The United States has denied that it provided any information to the Guyana Police Force to arrest Nation of Islam Advisor Akbar Muhammad.
Muhammad, Guyana-born Canadian citizen, Philip Simon, and East Coast Demerara resident Tyrone Seymour, were arrested last Thursday by the police who claimed that the three men were wanted in connection with terrorist acts and drug trafficking.
According to embassy officials, yesterday, Muhammad was never under the radar for drug trafficking or terrorism.
The muslin cleric on Friday told reporters that Guyanese officers upon entering his Princess Hotel suite, said that they were in receipt of information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that he was in Guyana to plan a terrorist act and to organise people for it.
Since his detention by the police Muhammad and Simon are both demanding a Public apology from the Government and Police Force for their wrongful detention.
Just two hours after their release, the trio along with their attorney Nigel Hughes, held a press briefing at Hughes’s Hadfield Street Office.
The minister described the matter as a disinformation campaign and he could not say where it came from. “It could have been directed to Farrakhan and also I think it could be politically motivated.
“I would be 69 years old in two weeks…Why would I come to Guyana at my age and be involved in drugs and terrorism, something I’ve preached against for years?”
“First thing I thought it was because I was Muslim (that) I was singled out. I come to speak to your children about current dynamics and now I’m locked up.”
He noted that during his detention four different officers at different times asked the same interesting questions.
“They asked how many children I have, where did I go to school, what was my reason for travel…..and one interesting question they asked was which political leader I met with or if I was member of a political party….I’m not a citizen so how could I belong to a party?” the minister said.
“It made me think that they were concerned that I was coming down at the Election year and I had something to do with the political dynamics.” Muhammad stated.
Muhammad was detained at the Brickdam Police Station lockups, where he said he was absolutely taken aback by the conditions there.
He said that the only place where he had seen such conditions was in Ghana. Meanwhile the People’s National Congress is calling for proper explanation into the arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of the detained men.
The release stated that while the Constitution of Guyana provides for and gives authority to the Guyana Police Force to arrest and detain persons pending investigations, it is expected that such powers would only be exercised when there is reasonable cause for suspicion.
“What, therefore, were the alleged terrorist intentions of the detained persons when, according to their statement after release, the Police questions to them related to their activities in Guyana which, we understand included visiting Political Leaders” the released questioned.
According to the statement it is obvious, from all the evidence that the arrest and detention fit within the paranoia that seem to be affecting the minds of Mr. Clement Rohee and the dictatorial Jagdeo PPP/C Government, as evidenced by the now prevalent practice of political harassment.
The release urged all Guyanese to be concerned with these developments, for the incident is illustrative of the wanton disregard which the PPP has continued to display for the fundamental rights of citizens, as guaranteed by the Guyana constitution.
It further stated that in no democratic country of the world should anyone be arrested or detained without reasonable cause.
“This is blatantly inconsistent with accepted democratic principles which prescribe or recognise the right of all citizens to be free of arbitrary arrest” the PNC said.
It noted that the detention of Akbar Muhammad, Philip Simon and Tyrone Seymour, sends a worrying signal for all Guyanese and visitors alike and, unless there is a satisfactory explanation by the GPF and the Government, it will send dangerous signals for the future peace and stability of Guyana.
Minister Akbar Muhammad is an International Representative for the Nation of Islam. He has offices and residences in Accra, Ghana, and the United States.