– victim reportedly told police other prisoner had assaulted him
Two constables from the Leonora Police Station are under close arrest as investigations continue into the death of Meten-Meer-
Zorg resident Asif Rahim Khatoon, whose relatives claimed that he was badly beaten while in police custody.
A senior police official said that the ranks were being questioned because they were with Khatoon when he was arrested last Saturday. However, Kaieteur News was told that there is no evidence so far to implicate them in the 38-year-old fisherman’s demise.
According to the official, investigators have also received reports that Khatoon was assaulted by another prisoner while the two were handcuffed together and sitting on a bench. The prisoner was later released on bail and investigators are trying to locate him.
The Police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has taken over the investigation and a post mortem examination is expected to be conducted on the victim on Monday.
A police release stated that Divisional Commander Senior Superintendent Ian Amsterdam, accompanied by Pastor Winston Assannah and Pastor Deryck Anderson of the Cops and Faith Community Network and other ranks of the Division, yesterday visited the victim’s reputed wife, Sursattie Chandrapaul, children and other relatives.
“The Divisional Commander sympathised with the family while expressing concern over the allegations surrounding Asif Rahim Khatoon’s demise, and assured the family and relatives that every effort will be made to ensure that the investigations are completed as early as is practicable, while the religious leaders offered words of comfort to them,” the release stated.
In another release issued on Thursday, police stated that Khatoon was arrested at around 00:25 hrs on Saturday, November 22, 2014, following investigations into a report that he had assaulted his reputed wife, Sursattie Chandrapaul.
“During efforts to arrest him, Asif Rahim Khatoon resisted, but was eventually subdued
and taken to the Leonora Police Station. At the station he made no complaints against the arresting ranks. At the Leonora Station, Asif was kept on the bench handcuffed to another man in custody whom he later reported had allegedly assaulted him,” the release stated.
“Asif was subsequently taken to the Parika Police Station later that Saturday where he was kept in the lockups. He was charged with assault and brought to the Leonora Police Station on Monday November 24, 2014, to attend the Magistrate’s Court.”
The release stated that while at Leonora, the prisoner’s reputed wife reported that he was beaten by the police and as a consequence, he was taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital where he was referred to the West Demerara Hospital. He was later released and was scheduled to appear in Court on Wednesday November 26, 2014.
“An investigation into the allegation made against the police had been initiated within the Police Division, but has now been taken over by the Police Office of Professional Responsibility.”
Khatoon, also known as ‘Catches,’ died at his home at around 13.00 hrs on Thursday, five days after he was allegedly beaten.
He was briefly hospitalised at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), allegedly with a broken jaw and multiple contusions.
His wife, Sursattie Chandrapaul, recalled that her husband was arrested two Friday nights ago after he came home drunk and began to curse her.
She said that although she had not called the police, a party of five “black clothes” ranks arrived, handcuffed her husband and placed him to lie in the back of the police van.
The woman claimed that at one point, her husband attempted to sit up but one of the policemen “tek one of the long gun and stomp he on he back”. Contrary to the police release, the woman denied that her husband had resisted arrest.
Chandrapaul said that 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 police ranks had inflicted the injuries. On her return on Monday, she reportedly informed one “Officer Johnson” of what transpired and permission was granted for her to take him to the hospital under police guard.
After being referred by officials of two West Coast Demerara hospitals, the mother of four said 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 he was referred to the ‘Dental Clinic’, and then sent back to the GPHC for admittance.
According to Chandrapaul, her husband was admitted last Wednesday, but called her on Thursday and begged her to have him discharged, since he claimed he had received no medical treatment at the hospital.
She then took her husband home, where he succumbed.
“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.” The couple has three daughters, aged 19, 17 and eight and a 14-year-old son.
“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.”
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