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Dec 02, 2008 News
It feels so good to be living among people again after several years of living among animals – Bynoe
Philip Bynoe is no longer accused of treason.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, acting in accordance with the powers granted to him in Article 188 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana, yesterday granted Bynoe a pardon.
According to a statement released through the Government Information Agency – GINA — Bynoe had been writing to President Jagdeo since last year and continuing this year, applying to him for a pardon.
In his appeals, Mr. Bynoe expressed his remorse over the invasion of the Office of the President, and the destruction of public property.
In 2002, Bynoe campaigned throughout the country, urging citizens to protest against what he called atrocities against the people by the PPP/CIVIC Government.
His campaign led to a massive march on July 3, 2002, which culminated in the storming of the Office of the President, leading to the shooting death of two persons and injuries to several others, as presidential guards opened fire on the intruders.
Yesterday, GINA reported that Bynoe recognized that the event was an attack on a democratic institution of the state and not directed at the President.
Social activist Mark Benschop, who was a part of the march, was subsequently charged along with Bynoe for treason. He was to spend five years in prison, until he was pardoned by the Head of State.
He had undergone a lengthy preliminary inquiry and trial in the High Court, where a single juror refused to agree with others on a not-guilty verdict for Benschop. Immediately people concluded that political considerations caused that juror to stymie the not-guilty verdict.
Benschop never got a second trial, because various protests surfaced, some by lawyers who spoke of chronological order in trial, a contention that the Guyana Court of Appeal rejected.
Last night, Bynoe said that he needed to adjust to his new freedom. “I am very happy to be pardoned. I am grateful to the President, who saw it fit to pardon me after six and one half years.
“Perhaps the President finally decided that he would allow me to spend this season of goodwill with my family.”
Bynoe said that he had been writing to the Head of State since last year, and he had also been sending emissaries.
He said that he is going to take some time to get back with his family. “I have to reintegrate myself into society, starting with my family, who supported me morally and psychologically, particularly my wife.”
Bynoe turned 60 on November 14 last.
Asked about his period of exile, he said, “It feels so good to be living among people again, after several years of living among animals.”
In an invited comment last evening, former fellow treason accused Mark Benschop said that it is refreshing to hear the revelation about Bynoe writing the President and apologizing.
“This is not news to me. I am happy that someone has apologized for what happened at the Office of the President. I am now awaiting the government to apologise to me and compensate me for the five years of unjust incarceration,” Benschop told this newspaper.
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