May 26, 2010 News
A Guyanese woman who wants to marry her death row lover has filed a motion in the High Court seeking damages on his behalf for what she claims is a violation of his fundamental rights as is enshrined in Article 141 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana.
Ameena Khan filed the motion yesterday on behalf of convicted murderer hafiz hussain through attorney at law K.A. Juman-Yassin.
The defendant in the matter is the Attorney General.
Khan, of 34 Plantation Vries Land, West Bank Demerara, is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 for breach of Hussain’s fundamental rights in that the conditions under which he has been kept amounts to torture and or inhuman and degrading punishment.
Hussain has been placed in solitary confinement since April this year after prison authorities claimed that they found a hammer and chisel in his cell.
The authorities believe that Hussain was in the process of planning a prison breakout.
However, Khan is convinced that his plight stems from her refusal to engage in a relationship with a senior officer at the Georgetown Prisons.
Hafiz Hussain, who has been a prisoner since 1993 had been convicted with the offence of murder and had lost all his appeals.
He had filed a petition to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations under the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The application to the Human Rights Committee was registered as Complaint No. 862/1999.
The Human Rights Committee had in its 85th session between the 17th October to the 3rd November, 2005 in paragraph 6.3 found that the Government of Guyana had violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights in respect to the imposition of the death penalty on Hafiz Hussain.
In her affidavit to support the motion, Khan claimed that she has had a close relationship with the condemn prisoner and had made an application to the Director of Prisons and the Minister of Home Affairs in February, 2009 for permission to marry him.
To date she has not received permission to do so but continues to visit Hussain regularly and as often as is permitted by the Prison Authority.
She claimed that she has known Hussain since around 2007 when she met him at the Georgetown Public Hospital where he had been receiving medical treatment.
A friendship developed between the two and she began visiting the convict at the Georgetown Prisons.
According to Khan her son was imprisoned and during one of her visits to him she met a senior officer of the Georgetown Prisons.
Khan claimed that on one occasion when she visited her son in prison, she was taken by another officer to the senior officer’s office but when she attempted to leave, the senior officer came behind her and pulled her away from the door.
“(The officer) placed his hand around my breast anal squeezed my breast. (Officer’s name) then unzipped his pants and placed one of my hands on his penis and told me that he wanted to have sex with me,” Khan stated in her affidavit.
She said that she pushed him away and in a loud tone of voice, told him to leave her alone.
The officer insisted that he wanted a relationship with her and he continued to call her on her telephone but she refused to answer.
She said that after she began visiting Hussain, the senior officer in question began to move him from cell to cell and during the period of one year, Hafiz Hussain was moved about six times.
As a result of this, Khan made a complaint to the Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee and Director of Prisons Dale Erskine, about the treatment being meted out to Hussain.
She claimed that at all times when she visited Hussain there would always be a Prison Officer present and this was not the situation when other prisoners had visits.
According to Khan, because of her actions towards him, the Senior Prison Officer has since stopped her from visiting Hussain for about three months now.
When she enquired why this was the case, the Senior Officer told her that she can visit any other prisoner, but not Hafiz Hussain.
“As a result I called Mr. Erskine, Director of Prisons and told him that (officer’s name) has stopped me from visiting Hafiz Hussain without any just and proper reason. Mr. Erskine told me that he will speak to (officer’s name) and that I should call him back.”
When Khan called back the Director of Prisons as requested, he told her that he had spoken to the officer and that the officer was in charge of the prison and it was his right to stop me and or any other person from visiting any prisoner.
According to Khan’s affidavit, on the April 26, 2010, about 11:00 hours, Prison Officers went to the cell of the said Hafiz Hussain and informed him that they wanted to do a search of his cell and proceed to so do, but nothing illegal was found.
She said that she was informed and verily believed that a search was then carried out in the bathroom of the section of the condemn section and there a hammer and chisel were found.
The bathroom of the Condemn Section, she claimed, is used by Hafiz Hussain and 11 other prisoners and none of the prisoners have the exclusive right and or control, and or possession, of the said section.
Later that afternoon at around 17:00 hours, prison officers again went to the cell of Hafiz Hussain and carried another search but again nothing was found, Khan claimed in her affidavit.
According to Khan, Hussain was taken to the senior officer’s office where he was told that the hammer and chisel belonged to him and that he is the biggest trafficker in the Georgetown Prison.
Hussain denied that the hammer and chisel belonged to him or that he did anything illegal; that the same afternoon he was placed in a cell in the Section of the Brick Sanitary and this cell was not in the Condemn Section where he should be kept.
Since then, Hussain has been in the cell, which measures six and a half by three and a half feet with a height of six feet.
Khan in her affidavit claimed that Hussain is six feet two inches tall and is big built.
She also claimed that the cell is insanitary and the walls are messed with faeces which had been there prior to Hussain being placed there.
The woman stated that Hussain pleaded with the Prison Authority for the cell to be cleaned as it was intolerable and degrading to him but these pleas fell on deaf ears and the degrading and inhuman condition persists.
In a letter April 29, 2010 sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, complaints were raised about the conditions in which Hussain was being kept.
But despite this the cell has not been cleaned and has remained in a filthy and deplorable state.
“… the said cell has a wooden flooring with holes in it and as a result rats, cockroaches and other insects would crawl into the cell and this makes it almost impossible for Hussain to sleep. Thus his health has further deteriorated and it is tantamount to torture. Hussain has made complaints about this fact but the situation still remains the same,” Khan stated in her affidavit.
In addition, Hussain is only allowed to come out one time per day to have a bath and is out for about 15 minutes before he is returned to the cell.
Khan claimed that Hussain is ill with a severe cold and has chest pains, and has several boils on various parts of his body.
After complaining of feeling unwell, on April 29, Hussain was examined by a doctor, who prescribed medication which has not yet been given him.
Another letter dated April 29 was sent to the Home Affairs minister complaining about the conditions in which Hussain was being kept.
However, nothing has been done to the cell which remains in a filthy and deplorable state.
Khan claimed that Hussain has not committed any offence that is contrary to the prison rules and or regulations and despite the fact that he is a prisoner, he should he treated as a human being and should not have to endure the condition in which he is being held.
According to Khan, Hussain being a condemned prisoner for over a decade has been under continued supervision by prison officers, both during the day and night, and thus for him to have possession of anything illegal would be almost impossible.
She said that no medical officer has inspected the cell where Hussain is being kept and no recommendation has been made by any medical officer or other competent officer as regards the cleansing, lighting and untidy conditions in respect to the said cell.
“The condition under which Hussain is being kept is further in breach of the prison regulations and or rules, in that Hussain has no bed and or blanket. The conditions under which Hussain is being kept is a deliberate one in order to degrade and or lessen his self respect, character and well being,” Khan’s affidavit said.
She believes that Hussain is being victimized by the senior prison officer because of his relationship with her.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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