Two Lethem, Region Nine residents are suing Linden police for wrongful arrest and detention last month.
Taking on the police are Corwin Nicholson and Clavis Nicholson, of Lethem, a border area shared with Brazil. In addition to the police, they are suing the Attorney General of Guyana; Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud, and a police rank whose name was given in court documents as Corporal Pamplice.
Representing the two men is attorney-at-law, Saphier Husain-Subedar.
In the notice of motion filed recently, the men are asking the courts to declare that their fundamental rights were violated by the respondents and their servants by the imposition of cruel and inhuman treatment and wrongful deprivation of liberty on November 21 and November 22 at Linden Police Station.
They want in excess of $100,000 for being wrongfully locked up and in excess of $100,000 for inhuman and degrading treatment.
According to court documents, Corwin Nicholson is a contracted worker with RDC Region Nine while Clavis Nicholson is a businessman with an established store in Lethem for over three years.
The men said that they are remigrants from Barbados since 2013. They have invested in excess of $20M over the years, taking part in loans.
“…That we are persons of excellent reputation and character of unblemished record and antecedents both in Guyana and Barbados. That we are active members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, well known by the Priests and members of the community.”
Corwin Nicholson claimed that he is the owner of a registered business ‘3D Construction’ Clavis Nicholson is the owner of ‘Nicholson’s Trading’.
Corwin Nichols said he owns a mini-van PFF 1508 which is used to transport small and fragile perishable items, including glasswares and greens from Georgetown to Lethem.
Sometimes the two also hire a truck to transport heavy hardware materials from Georgetown to Lethem.
The men said that on November 21, 2016 at 21:30 pm, they left Georgetown with their minivan fully loaded with perishable and fragile items. There were fish products worth in excess of $15M.
On the Linden Highway they were stopped by persons wearing police uniforms except for “one male person who refused to identify himself”.
The men claimed that the person in civilian clothes ordered them out of the vehicle in a hostile and loud manner. The two men complied.
However, Clavis Nicholson asked the man: “Is that the way you speak to civilians?…I demanded that he identify himself in a very courteous manner but he refused to identify himself and proceeded to enter the bus in a violent manner but we protested in a courteous way.”
The men were taken to the Wismar Police Station and later, were instructed to drive the bus to the Mackenzie Police Station.
There, they were instructed by the unidentified man, dressed in civilian clothing, to sit on the prisoners’ bench.
“That half an hour later, the person in the front gate entered our property and placed us in the ‘lock ups’ at about 11pm. That no reason was given to us, no instructions of right to counsel and to allegation was made against us. We were told that, “when the O.C. returns, he will speak with us: Coronel Wallace was the O.C of the station.”
According to the men in the court documents, the police refused to give them water or food.
“That the prison was a dark hole measuring 9ft by 9ft with the stench of human feces and urine.
That the toilet bowl was inside the lockups and the tank is on the outside of said lockups. We requested the police to flush the toilet but they ignored us all throughout the night until the next day.”
The men were taken out of the lockups at 15:00 hours the next day and brought to the Enquiry Office where five policemen with rifles “stood at “ready position”.
“That the policemen then handcuffed our hands behind our backs and placed us in a police van which soon drove us back to Wismar Police Station. That from Wismar Police Station they drove through a street and an extensive search was carried out with a sniffer dog but nothing was found. No allegations were made against us.
“That we were then taken back to the Mackenzie Police Station along with the sniffer dog. Three police ranks off-loaded the items which we had in our minivan and searched same with sniffer dog and found nothing.”
The two men claimed that they re-packed the items into the minivan with the handcuffs still on their left hands.
“That about 4:30pm, we were placed on a bail of $30,000 and told to report to court on 29th November, 2016 for Disorderly Behaviour. That on 29th November, 2016, we went to the Wismar Magistrate’s Court and were informed that no charge was laid against us.”
The men contacted the lawyer who advised them to take action as their rights appeared to have been violated and that “no allegation was made against us, no warrant was read nor were we informed of any rights whatsoever.”
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