A Meten-Meer-Zorg fisherman, who was taken into police custody last Friday on an abusive language allegation,
is now dead, and his family is pointing fingers at ranks of the Leonora Police Station whom they claim savagely stomped, kicked and gun-butted him during his incarceration.
At around 13:00 hours yesterday, Soorsattie Chandrapaul also known as ‘Lily Rahim’ watched in horror as her husband of 21 years breathed his last. It was five days after he, Asif Rahim Khatoon was badly beaten, allegedly at the hands of the lawmen attached to the West Coast Demerara (WCD) station.
Khatoon, called “Catches,” was a self-employed fisherman who resided at 102 Ocean Gardens, Meten-Meer-Zorg, WCD, with his wife, three daughters (aged 19, 17 and 8) and 14-year-old son.
The fisherman was briefly hospitalised at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), struggling to recover from severe injuries he sustained, days after he was arrested for arguing with his wife last Friday.
Chandrapaul told Kaieteur News yesterday that doctors at the GPHC said Khatoon had sustained a broken jaw and suffered from multiple contusions.
When Kaieteur News arrived on the scene the man, who was lying motionless on the bed, was surrounded by his weeping wife, and investigating ranks who had been summoned to the scene. His face was, at the time, badly damaged and swollen.
Chandrapaul recalled that her husband was arrested last Friday after he behaved in a disorderly manner. She said, Khatoon, who was drinking earlier, returned home and was cursing at her.
She said that though she had not called the police, a party of five “black clothes” ranks arrived and arrested him. Chandrapaul recalled that they handcuffed her husband and placed him to lie down in the back of the police van.
The woman recalled that at one point, her husband attempted to sit up but the police “tek one of the long gun and stomp he on he back”.
According to the woman, when she visited her husband at the station the following day, she found him in a battered
state, with his face badly swollen. After inquiring from the police about her husband’s condition, they told her that he had been beaten by other prisoners.
However, Chandrapaul said her husband insisted that he was beaten by the Police Officers. On Monday, when she returned she informed “Officer Johnson” of what transpired and permission was granted for her take him to the hospital under police guard.
After being referred by two West Coast Demerara hospitals, the mother of four explained that she took her husband to the GPHC, where she was informed that his jaw was broken and he would need to undergo surgery.
She said the Hospital then referred him to the Dental Clinic, which then sent him back to the GPHC for admittance, given his condition.
According to Chandrapaul, her husband was admitted on Wednesday evening but called her yesterday morning and begged her to have him discharged since he did not receive any treatment from the hospital authorities.
She took her husband home yesterday morning, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Hardeo Persaud, his brother-in-law, said “He (Khatoon) tell me ‘pain too much. Ah gun dead, the police beat me. They stomp me with gun.’”
Khatoon’s wife said that a Ryan Persaud from the police complaint department came by and spoke to her husband. She said that the fisherman told them that he was attacked by a group of police ranks. They were advised however to take him to the hospital because at that point, they couldn’t take a statement.
“I feel upset about this. My husband is not a criminal. It’s just cussing he get arrested for, he is not a criminal. He is a very hard working man, now is me alone and dem children,” she stressed.
“There is nowhere I can go to get justice, because police don’t go against police. He shouldn’t be brutalized like this in this county,” the grieving woman lamented. Persaud chimed in “As a police, you should do it in a decent manner – not beat and kill people. This man got three children going to school…he is the breadwinner for he family.”
The woman is calling for whoever is responsible to be charged for her husband’s death.
“This is unfair, the same way they do this to my husband, they can do it to other people.”
Chandrapaul has slammed claims that her husband was beaten by prisoners. She said “Prisoners can’t beat he like that…if it was so where they (police) went when that happen? Prisoner can never beat he so…. and even the doctors seh they believe he was beaten by the police.”
Her grieving children, she said, are also saddened by the way they lost their young father.
According to reports, this is not the first time that the Leonora Police Station has been involved in a case of brutalizing prisoners. In October 2009, a teenager was severely burnt on his genitals, an act which sparked public outrage and lengthy legal proceedings.
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