It was the Alliance for Change that highlighted the allegations about the sexual assault of a young man while he was in police custody, after it was published in the media. The AFC broke this news close to two months after the alleged assault was said to have taken place.
It made these revelations while the young man was hospitalized because of complications arising from what the party said was a perforated intestine.
The AFC should have ensured that an independent medical examination was done on the young man before it went ahead and publicized this incident. Without medical confirmation that the young man was physically violated as claimed, there can be no case.
The AFC has reportedly since obtained statements from persons who it is said, corroborated the allegations against the police. But it does not matter how many corroborating statements are obtained from witnesses who were in the lockups. Unless there is medical evidence that can establish that there was anal penetration by a blunt instrument and that this penetration could have been by a baton, the AFC will have a hard time sticking to its original story that the man’s intestines were punctured by the baton inserted into his anus.
The doctors at the hospital where the young man was treated are contending that the young man was being treated for hernia, a condition known to many Guyanese especially those whose abdominal muscles are weak. Unless the AFC can dispute that the young man had hernia, it will have to show that any hernia was caused or aggravated by a baton being pushed up his anal cavity. Put simply, without medical corroboration of the allegations, the statements that the AFC managed to obtain this past week will not be decisive in making a case of anal penetration causing perforation to the intestines.
It was the AFC that contended that the young man’s intestines were damaged because of the penetration by a condom-covered baton. The AFC should have sought credible medical opinion before making this statement because anyone slightly familiar with what happens when your intestines are perforated knows that this always represents a medical emergency and in almost every case if not dealt with right away can lead to death.
If the young man’ s intestines were damaged immediately by the baton penetrating into his anal canal, it is doubtful that he could have survived as long as he did unless as one politician, with medical experienced indicated, God was on his side. The contents of the intestines would have seeped into the abdominal cavity and would have begun to poison his entire body. The pain would have been excruciating. Immediate surgery would have been required to save his life.
The AFC’s case is at the moment tottering and it may have to beat a hasty retreat. This will cause the AFC to lose face in the eyes of the public.
The allegations first made by the AFC led to public outrage, including from the government. Unfortunately there is an attempt to make it seem as if the government is covering-up this matter when in fact quite the opposite is happening. The government is clearly disturbed by the allegations and wants the truth to come out.
A few years back, the AFC had made similar allegations about a young man whose genitals were burnt while under interrogation in a police station. The same claims made then are being made now: that the government wanted to cover- up this matter up.
This never happened. The matter was investigated and led to charges and a shake- up of the police hierarchy in the Division where the assault of the young man took place. Civil action was filed on behalf of the young man; the court made substantial awards for injuries and exemplary damages. The State paid these sums.
No right- thinking government is going to want to cover-up this matter. There is no basis for any opinion that the ruling administration wants to do this. In fact, all the indications are that it is keen to get to the bottom of what is said to have happened because this will have implications for the reform process in the Guyana Police Force.
The AFC has called for the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Home Affairs to go. But from the way this matter is going so far, it does seem as if the AFC may be one to suffer political setbacks as a result of the investigation into the allegations.
The investigative report will be out soon. It is best to await its findings.
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