Nov 02, 2008 News
‘…men were questioned aggressively, not systematically tortured’
The report into allegations of torture by ranks of the Joint Services will be released but without the names of the ranks mentioned in the document.
This is according to Head to State, President Bharrat Jagdeo, who said, during a press briefing yesterday, that the names would be removed from the report in order to protect the ranks from any from of discrimination.
He said that once the names of the ranks are published, it is more than likely their faces will also be published in relation to the accusations.
He noted that it was probably that fear that prompted Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, to declare on Friday that it was very unlikely that the report would be released.
The President also reiterated what so many before him on the Government side had said — that the men were not tortured, but were questioned aggressively.
He noted that the matters must be addressed in their contexts, pointing to the circumstances surrounding the men being picked up and questioned.
According to Jagdeo, the first was in the case of Buxton, when several soldiers and policemen were shot and killed by bandits. Many people lost their lives, and members of the Joint Services were being shot at routinely.
These shootings were post Lusignan and Bartica, where the Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins Gang was based.
“If they identify people who are linked to criminal gangs, then they will act in a certain manner, given the context…To act alternatively may cost them their lives.”
The second incident, according to Jagdeo, stemmed from the discovery of a huge cache of weapons that were lost by the army. Then another weapon went missing.
He posited that there were people who were either responsible for the security and safekeeping of the weapons, or were the sentries, so they had to be aggressively questioned.
“It was not a case where they were systematically tortured, as is the case with other countries… There were two incident-based situations where they had bad history, and they were trying to avoid repetitions… Guyanese have to understand what was taking place.”
According to the President, the administration may not be able to avoid excesses among its security forces, “but we can promise that they will be investigated and dealt with.”
He pointed to the recent death of Edwin Niles, who succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
“We had a situation in the prison where someone died (Niles). The matter was investigated and a number of prison officers charged.”
He added that, more recently, there was another death in police custody — James Nelson. “We have launched an investigation, and action will be taken.”
Ever since the completion of the report, there have been consistent calls by the opposition for the report to be published for public scrutiny, but the administration has consistently resisted its release until now.
This prompted the main opposition party to table a motion in the National Assembly. The People’s Progressive Party Civic rejected the motion on torture, calling for evidence of the allegations. It also dismissed the motion as irrelevant and riddled with accusations.
According to executive member of the PPPC, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, the allegations of torture did not conform with the United Nation’s definition; and however deplorable, it was more or less the “roughing up” of suspects.
He said that the motion was irrelevant, given that what the motion sought was already in place.
The term “roughing up” later became a regular sound byte in the private media.
This prompted Persaud to issue a statement by which he claimed that at no time during his presentation did he either advocate a policy or suggest any approved action of ‘roughing up’ persons being questioned by the security forces.
He sought to point out that there was no place for excesses by the security forces, and when these occur there are internal and external mechanisms for redress.
His use of the ‘roughing up’ phrase, the release stated, was when he referred to the findings of a Joint Services investigation into allegations of torture made by several individuals, which concluded that persons who were questioned might have been ‘roughed up’ but not tortured.
Mar 04, 2021Kaieteur News – COOLIDGE, Antigua (AP) — Sri Lanka leg-spinner Akila Dananjaya experienced the precipitous highs and lows of Twenty20 cricket when he claimed a hat-trick which included the...
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – If U.S. President, Joe Biden, eases the trade embargo against Cuba, one benefit... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]