Feb 22, 2009 News
– believes he is innocent
By Michael Jordan
A death row inmate and his girlfriend may exchange wedding vows this year in the Georgetown Prison – if officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and prison authorities give the go-ahead.
The intended groom is 45-year-old death row inmate Hafiz Hussain, serving time for a brutal murder that was committed in 1993.
The bride-to-be is a businesswoman from the West Bank of Demerara.
Hussain and his girlfriend say that they hope to get married within a few months, once officials from the Home Affairs Ministry grant them permission.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, believes that Hussain was wrongly convicted.
Hussain, too, has proclaimed his innocence, and hopes that his sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment. He is also optimistic that he will eventually be freed.
The unlikely couple met by chance last year when Hussain was taken to the Georgetown Hospital for physiotherapy.
“The other prisoners who were with him asked me to buy something for them. I asked him (Hussain) what he wanted and he said he wanted me. He then asked me to visit him at the prison.”
The woman said that she began to make occasional visits to see the incarcerated man, and the two quickly fell in love. Then Hussain popped the question.
“He asked me to marry him and he asked me to find out if it could be done.”
She then approached a Justice of the Peace for advice on how to proceed. The JP contacted the Home Affairs Ministry and a visit was arranged.
According to the businesswoman, she was told to put her request in writing.
However, she said that since she has made her intentions known, prison officials have curtailed her visits.
Asked why she would marry a man who was convicted for murder, the woman said that she had travelled to Berbice where the crime was committed to check on Hussain’s background. What she found, she says, convinced her that Hussain did not commit the murder.
“I investigated him and he is innocent… the two of them who are on death row are innocent,” she said.
Hafiz Hussain was 29 years old when he, along with four other men, was arrested for the murder of Black Bush Polder businessman Abeer Ramsammy, called ‘Arnold.’
Ramsammy was shot by bandits at his home and succumbed about two days later.
In a statement to Kaieteur News, Hussain claims that eyewitnesses testified that the killers were masked and could not be recognised, except by ancestry.
But according to Hussain, one of the eyewitnesses later testified in court that she recognised his voice and could identify him despite the fact that he was masked.
Hussain and another accused were eventually found guilty and sentenced to death.
Since then, Hussain has languished in death row, although he claims that members of the Prerogative Board of Mercy had informed him some years ago that they would recommend that he be pardoned. Nothing has happened since then, the prisoner says.
Meanwhile, Hussain said his intended bride has promised to wait for his release.
“Me and my partner talked it over and she decide that she can wait. I know that I don’t have long more in prison.”
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