German citizen claims Police brutality
- after Irfaan Ali ‘wake house’ incident
A Guyana-born woman who is now a German citizen, claims that she was badly beaten and dragged out of her house by the police and then thrown into the “wet cell” at the La Grange Police Station, West Bank Demerara.
The woman, Fareena Hahn, believes that she suffered the treatment because of her “power drunk” neighbours. The woman’s property is sandwiched between Minister Irfaan Ali’s seaside mansion and his father’s residence at Sea Spray, Leonora, West Coast Demerara.
The incident occurred after Mrs Hahn complained that vehicles were blocking her entrance and keeping her horses from coming into her yard.
Hahn, who migrated to Germany in 1990, is home to visit her mother and other relatives who live just nearby in Sea Spray.
The woman said that on Tuesday last, she was having a normal day when she started noticing vehicles parking on the road and a group of persons congregating. She said as the evening moved along, more people and more vehicles came.
Mrs Hahn said she later learnt that Minister Ali’s house was being used to keep a “wake” for his uncle. The man who died is M.Z Ali, a former newspaper editor who was the brother of Minister Ali’s father.
The woman said that she told the security guard at Minister Ali’s house to ask persons with vehicles not to park in front of her entrance. She said her wishes were respected.
On the said Tuesday night, the horses ran away, Mrs Hahn claimed, and so on Wednesday she started searching for them. She located the horses a few doors away under a bottom house, but with the crowd Wednesday again, she said it was difficult to bring them home.
The woman said that she decided to spend most of the day at her mother’s residence and only returned home later the night in time to bring in the horses. She said on Tuesday night most persons at the wake had left after 21:00 hrs, so she figured that would have been the case on Wednesday.
Mrs Hahn said that she returned home, but just after 21:00 hrs, she heard sirens. Since it was getting late, she decided to look outside to see if the crowd had eased so she could try to get her horses in.
However, when she looked out, she said she noticed vehicles parked in front of her entrance, and so she called out to the man sitting in the car to park elsewhere. However, she said there was no response, so she flashed her torchlight so she could get the person’s attention if they could not hear her.
She said this persisted for a while, and someone came out of the car, but folded his hands and ignored her.
Mrs Hahn said she became upset because to her the attitude of the driver seemed to be “Who are you?” and didn’t pay her any mind.
She said that she then decided to come outside to press her case. However, she said that she noticed that the car parked in front of her gate was in fact the car of President Donald Ramotar.
Mrs Hahn said that she angrily shouted that someone should have had at least a little bit of respect for her space by telling her the President’s vehicle was parked there.
She said that if her neighbours were expecting the President they could have at least made parking arrangements for him and his security detail. Mrs Hahn said she felt she was being fair, and the attitude towards her was a “big and bad” attitude.
The woman said that as she protested, a burly looking Police officer dressed in brown clothes started to approach her in an angry mood, and she quickly told him “Don’t touch me!”
She said that she stood around a bit, and then decided to go back into her house. As she was closing the gate, she said a policeman told her: “You better tie it (her gate) up properly.”
She said she responded: ‘Why you don’t go and wash you mouth.” At that point, Mrs Hahn said she proceeded inside her house and took a shower. As she came out to close her door, she said she noticed a policewoman standing outside.
“At that very instant I don’t know what happened. All I know I was grabbed by a police officer and was being punched and kicked about the body.”
Mrs Hahn said that she soon realized there were two male police officers and two female officers. Mrs Hahn said she put up a fight by hooking her foot to the stairs, but she said a relative of Minister Ali kept urging the Police to “carry she down.”
Mrs. Hahn said she was dragged down the step and out of the yard and was thrown into a waiting Police minibus. As she was being shoved into the vehicle a policeman pinned her down with his feet.
She bears marks of violence about her feet, back, legs, and abdomen.
The woman said that she was then taken to the La Grange Police Station. There, she said she was being asked to sign a statement she did not see. Mrs. Hahn said that she angrily demanded to know why she was being charged.
She said a female officer then said in an undertone that she was being charged for abusive language. As she protested the charge, Mrs. Hahn said a male Police officer became annoyed, saying, “This f***in woman, shut you f***in mouth.” At that she said that officer told another officer to throw her in the “wet cell.”
The woman said that she spent a good few hours there screaming at the top of her voice, demanding her right to a phone call so that her mother could know where she was. Mrs. Hahn said that later a Police officer came and released her from the wet cell.
“All I know was that a next gate was being opened and I found myself in a cell with six other women.”
Mrs. Hahn said that she spent the following day and night in jail, but on Friday morning, she and the others started protesting to know what was happening to them.
Mrs. Hahn said that the police at La Grange said that her matter is a matter for the Leonora Police station and they had no information about her from Leonora. Mrs. Hahn said she realized then that she would be confined to jail over the weekend. With this thought she demanded to be heard before the court.
She said she was taken to the Vreed-en-hoop Magistrate’s Court, but after much confusion, the Police realised there would be no court in session there, so they took her to the Wales Magistrate’s Court.
These, she said, she was asked to plead to a charge of abusive language for which she pleaded not guilty.
She is due to return to court early next month.