Nov 04, 2008 News
Twenty-two Guyana Defence Force ranks and one policeman testified before a three-man team that was set up to investigate allegations of torture in the army.
The team was set up to investigate torture allegations committed on Corporal Wilson and Private Dunn by members of the Military Intelligence Department between November 23 and December 6 last year, at Camp Ayanganna.
A summary of the Torture Report, which was prepared by the Board of Inquiry that took evidence between January 12 and 16 last, contained statements by the soldiers that they were physically restrained by their hands and feet while bags were placed on their head.
It also stated that cold water was thrown on them while attempts were made to strangle them.
In their statements, the soldiers claimed that they were stripped of their clothes as ranks enforced electric shocks and physical blows to various parts of their body.
However, the board ruled that the examination of injuries and the medical results showed a strong inconsistency in relation to the alleged torture.
Dunn’s injuries, the report states, were, according to the professional medical opinion of a medical officer who examined him, obtained as a result of Dunn’s own escape bid to flee custody.
These wounds were described in the report as ‘clean-cut’ and ‘ripped wounds,’ indicative of cuts from barbed wire.
The report added that Dunn confessed that, during his bid to escape, he jumped from a 15-18 foot high landing at Band Corps barracks to the ground while his hands were still in cuffs.
With regards to Wilson, the report noted that medical results from checks for broken ribs and passage of blood in urine showed negative.
The report of tenderness to the neck, chest and abdomen was, however, consistent with some form of physical contact, the board stated.
It was stated that the board’s conclusions were based on evidence that Wilson’s neck, chest and abdomen provided a reasonable basis to conclude that there were some forms of ‘physical abuse’ and ‘ill-treatment’ committed on him.
However, because of the inconsistency of the injuries and medical reports, except for the tenderness on the neck, chest and abdomen of Wilson, there was no significant evidence of injuries to draw a conclusion of torture.
The report noted that there was a lack of supervision by SO1 G2 and OC MCID during the process of interrogation.
It noted also that there was a lack of experience on the part of the interrogators, and pointed out that more interrogatively-friendly methods to obtain information from the persons under investigation are needed.
In the report, it was recommended by the investigating board that a review of the existing protocols on interrogation be conducted with a view to establish a clear policy on the issue of interrogation and ways of obtaining information.
It also recommended that officers/other ranks be properly trained in the field of interrogation.
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