Sep 05, 2008 News Comments Off on Prison death probe…Police seek murder charges against four prison officers
By Michael Jordan
Police have implicated four prison officers, including two senior ranks, in the death of inmate Edwin Niles, and have recommended that they be charged with his murder.
One of the senior ranks is reportedly stationed at the Georgetown Prisons, while the other is stationed at Mazaruni.
Top police officials confirmed yesterday that the Director of Public Prosecutions is again in possession of the report on the case, which she had returned to the police for further details on the matter.
Kaieteur News understands the report concluded that Niles had been tortured to the extent that he suffered first and second degree burns, among other injuries.
Niles was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on July 3 with a broken arm and burns to his shoulders, back and buttocks.
He succumbed on July 11 from a clot in the lungs caused by the burns about the back.
It is alleged that Niles was beaten and scalded with hot water while being interrogated at the Georgetown Prisons in connection with the discovery of seven .22 rounds of ammunition on his person.
Niles and other prisoners had worked at the army’s Camp Ayanganna base on July 3, and Niles had reportedly taken a discarded pair of trousers from the building that was being cleaned.
Niles was wearing the same trousers when he returned to the prison, and the ammunition was discovered in his pockets.
That night, ranks from the Brickdam Police Station visited the Georgetown Prison after prison officials informed them that an inmate had been found with ammunition.
Police officials allege that when their ranks arrived, Niles was in a room with prison officers and ranks from the Guyana Defence Force.
The police officials said their ranks observed that Niles was shirtless and burns were clearly visible on his back and upper buttocks.
This newspaper was told that some prison officers claimed that Niles had sustained the injuries after dragging himself on the prison floor.
Niles was then taken to the Brickdam Police Station for a few minutes, but when a senior officer saw the extent of his injuries, he ordered his ranks to take the inmate to the GPHC.
While he was under guard at the hospital, even Niles’s relatives were not allowed to speak to him. Only the prisoner’s reputed wife was allowed to see him briefly, shortly after his admission.
Hospital officials had released a statement which suggested that Niles was beaten by other inmates.
The leaders of the People’s National Congress Reform and Alliance For Change had expressed reservations about the Joint Services conducting the investigation, and had suggested that an independent inquiry be conducted into Niles’s demise.
Prison officials had expressed their condolences to Niles’s relatives, and had assisted them with expenses for his funeral.
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