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    Posted August 6, 2009 by
    Islamfront
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    long delays of matters before the courts, and Prison conditions in Trinidad and Tobago.

     

    For Immediate Release

    August 6th, 2009

     

     

     

    PRESS CONFERENCE:

     

    In relation to the long delays of matters before the courts, and conditions under which pre-trial prisoners are detained and in particular, the indictment issue of all those charged with the murder of Dr. Edward Koury

    Prisoners are human beings. In most cases, they are also citizens of this country, “subjects of the Government” and should have the same rights as all other persons before the Court. They have lost their liberty whilst they are in prison. However, as far as we are concerned, they have not lost their human dignity or their right to equality before the law. This underlines the point that criminal offenders and alleged criminal offenders alike lose their liberty when they are convicted or arrested, but that in a civilized society as ours, they do not lose their rights as citizens. In other word, the imprisonment is the punishment; or in the case of un-convicted persons, it is detention. Our prisons are meant to be places of rehabilitation and detention houses, not places where extra punishment is added or where rights are denied and oppression is the order of the day.

    Despite this, the rights of prisoners and those awaiting trial are breached on a daily basis. For example, in the case of those persons arrested, the Prison authority, the judiciary and the government have obstructed and denied some of these individuals the right to a speedy and fair trial. This amounts to "punishment" before conviction. The government is punishing and oppressing these individuals by taking away their rights. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional right of these individuals.

    Other infringements include:

    1.  Unhealthy environments (physically, emotionally and mentally).

    2.  Bland, unwholesome rations that is inadequate for proper health and strength; of very low quality and not well prepared.

    3.  Dirty, non-potable drinking water.

    4.  No access to clean accommodation, with acceptable living conditions and medical care.

    The most important principle in the management of pre-trial prisoners is the fact that they must always be presumed to be innocent. Unlike convicted prisoners they are not being held in prison as a punishment. The Prison administration must ensure that their un-convicted status is reflected in their treatment and management.

    Persons who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime have a right to be brought before a court. Instead, these persons are detained for long periods of time without being brought to court.

    We see this as corruption, abuse of power and negligence.

    The lives of the families and loved ones of these accused are disrupted and put under tremendous strain. Their stress levels increase greatly by undergoing hardships of all kinds, not to mention having to cope in a brutal society as ours. They would in some cases resort to crime and prostitution or fall vulnerable to the whims and fancy of society’s rejects.

    We notice also there is certainly not a clear separation of functions between the agencies responsible for criminal behaviour; the prosecuting authority and the prison administration. The fact that an accused person is detained may assist the investigating authorities in their work, but the conditions of imprisonment should never be an element of the investigation. In other words, it should not be permissible to hold pre-trial prisoners in very restricted conditions simply in order to encourage them to co-operate with investigators or to confess to their guilt. The investigating or prosecuting authority should not be able to influence the prison authorities as to how they treat prisoners who are awaiting trial. In the end it is possible that those who are found guilty may serve a much longer period of pre-trial detention than the sentence itself. All of this does contribute to a legitimate sense of grievance, which would affect the behavior of many pre-trial prisoners and this should be kept in mind by the prison administration.

    Other disturbing situations existing within our prison walls can best be described in the following occurrences between 2006 and 2009.

    On November 11th 2006, at sun set masked officers of both the Emergency Response Unit and Guard and Emergency together with Defense Force Personnel stormed remand prison. These officers who were armed with rifles, shot guns, automatic pistols, hand grenades and grenade launchers, fired at will targeting the head and upper portion of the body, Darren Joseph lost an eye, Antonio Sobers suffered a shattered jaw, Roger Greene was shoot twice in the chest and Anthony Andrews in an attempt to protect his face was shoot in the hand and lower arm. Members of the Islamic community was especially targeted, these individuals were beaten repeatedly whiles been orders to repeat the following phrase – “Jesus is god, Allah is the devil, the jail belongs to the officers.” -  The Muslims were severely kicked and beaten with staffs and in several instances a fire extinguisher was used to beat a few of them. On that ill-fated night many suffered fractured skulls and bones, soft tissue damage and blunt facial trauma. Even inmates who were in their cells were taken out and severely beaten.

    On July 17th, 2008, Kurlan George was severely beaten by Prison Officers.

    On July 18th, 2008, a Prison Officer was murdered. It is alleged that this homicide was a direct result of the beating inflicted on Mr. George.

    On July 19th, 2008, Kurlan George was extracted from the general Remand population and placed in the Disassociation Unit known as ‘Guantanamo’, which prison authorities continually deny the existence of. ‘It was for the prisoners’ general safety’, was the reason given for this action. If this is true, why then was he again beaten on the May 12th?

    The Disassociation Unit comprises of Prison Officers from the Emergency Response Unit, which was specially formed to manage and oversee the affairs of those detained in this section. Some of those detained include:

    ·       Fabian La Roach

    ·       Ramzan Bachand

    ·       Bryan Barrington

    ·       Tesper Jones

    ·       Winston Samual

    ·       Kezley Towine

    ·       Anthony Mungroo

    All these men were severely beaten on October 16th, 2007. These men were brought in this section for the very same reason as Kurlan George. It is important to note here that all beatings took place under gun point and whiles these officers were under the influence of alcohol.

    1.  Why are these men placed in this section?

    2.  Was it really for their protection?

    3.  Who are they being protected from?

    4.  Why are these men treated worst than those prisoners on death row?

    5.  Why these men are denied equal treatment as those in remand yard?

    6.  Who is the prison official that ordered and condones this segregation?

    Now that we have open your eyes to the issues, a particular case comes to our attention; the case involving Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore, and Robert Franklyn all of whom was charged for the murder of Dr. Edward Koury in 2005.

    To date, no trial date has been set for the accused even though they have gone through the preliminary stages of the enquiry. The presiding Magistrate’s decision to send the matter to the High Court indicates that the state does have evidence to try and prosecute these men; So then why the wait?

    Why do grown men and women of integrity and status treat with human lives in this manner? Certainly it is not just these men whose futures hang in the balance but the fates of their families and loved ones as well.

    There is also the issue of the psychological and mental torment of the victims’ families who need closure.

    If they have the evidence to charge, then produce same to convict! It seems as if these men are being used as experimental lab rats, since this is the very first paper committal case to be presented before the courts.

    Another case in relation to the murder of Dr. Edward Koury was the kidnapping of 64yrs old Taxi Driver Ramsaran Samlal of St. Helena Village, Piarco; for which it was alleged that these same men with the exception of Robert Franklyn had kidnapped, robbed and stole his vehicle. These charges were later dismissed consequent of the DPP not wanting to continue the matter. There were major inconsistencies in relation to this matter:

       1. The identity and statements given by a police officer was inconsistent with the identity and statement given by Mr. Samlal.

       2. Mr. Samlal said the four individuals who kidnapped him were dark Negro men unlike the accused who were light skinned.

    So the question remains if these men did not kidnap the taxi driver, who did? And could it be said that these same men - not yet identified - could be responsible for the death of Mr. Koury?

    With much deliberation and consideration of the facts we have decided on the following:

       1. As of today, considering the present confusion of this matter, we are stating that if the Magistrate believes a prima facie case has been made out against these men; allow the matter to go before a Judge and jury. Let us give the victims’ families closure. Why are numerous calls to the DPP’s office not acknowledged? Why are answers to questions not specific and to the point? It is as though the DPP’s office is more confused than ever; or is it that all accused must be of the “Brad Boyce” variety in order for their cases to be expedited.

       2. If the matter does go before a Judge and jury, we demand that the Judge be of impeccable and unbiased character, with no party affiliations and the jury be a balanced cross section of race and religion.

       3. If these men are not indicted soon, we then call on the DPP to discontinue this matter on the grounds of unlawful detention, and set free all persons charged in this matter as soon as humanly possible so as to allow these men a safe return to their families and loved ones.

       4. After this is done, we demand that the DPP re-open the investigation into the murder of Dr. Edward Koury and for the Police Service Commission to re-instate the services of retired police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj to head the investigation.

    As members of the Muslim community who share the concern of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we have over the past several months been reviewing and looking at the trend of this democracy in dealing with issues like these and others.

    We are well poised to demand serious steps be taken to rectify these issues, before it’s too late.  

    Umar Abdullah

    Leader

    Waajihatul Islaamiyyah

    (The Islamic Front)

    1-868-787-0765

    waajihatulislaamiyyah@gmail.com

    theislamicfront@gmail.com

    http://theislamicfront.vox.com

    http://twitter.com/theislamicfront

    Letter to DPP Trinidad and Tobago - Murder of Edward Koury

    Date: May 25th, 2009

    Mrs. Carla Brown-Antoine

    Ag. Director of Public Prosecutions

            

    Salaamun Alaiyki (Peace Be With You),

    We make reference to the case involving Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore, and Robert Franklyn, all of whom were charged for the murder of Dr. Edward Koury in 2005.

    To date, no trial date has been set for the accused, even though they have gone through the preliminary stages of the inquiry. The presiding Magistrate’s decision to send the matter to the High Court indicates that the State does have evidence to try and prosecute these men - so then why the wait?

    Why are you - a woman of integrity and status - treating with human lives in this manner? Certainly it is not just these men whose futures hang in the balance, but the fates of their families and loved ones as well.

    There is also the issue of the psychological and mental torment of the victims’ families who need closure. If there is evidence to charge, then produce same to convict! It seems as if these men being used as experimental lab rats, since this is the very first paper committal case to be presented before the courts.

    With much deliberation and consideration of the facts, we have decided on the following:

       1. As of today, considering the present confusion of this matter, we are stating that if the Magistrate believes a prima facie case has been made out against these men; indict these men and allow the matter to go before a Judge and Jury. Give the victims’ families closure. Why are numerous calls to your office not acknowledged? Why are answers to questions not specific and to the point? It is as though your office is more confused than ever; or is it that all accused must be of the “Brad Boyce” variety in order for their cases to be expedited.

       2. If the matter does go before a Judge and Jury, we demand that the Judge be of impeccable and unbiased character, with no party affiliations whatsoever; and the jury be a balanced cross-section of race and religion.

       3. If these men are not indicted soon, we then call upon you to discontinue this matter on the grounds of unlawful detention, and set free all persons charged in this matter as soon as humanly possible so as to allow these men a safe return to their families and loved ones.

       4. After this is done, we demand that you re-open the investigation into the murder of Dr. Edward Koury and for the Police Service Commission to re-instate the services of retired Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj to head the investigation.

    As members of the Muslim community who share the concern of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we have over the past several months been reviewing and looking at the trend of this democracy and your office in dealing with issues like these and others.

    We are well poised to demand serious steps be taken to rectify this issue and others similar to it, before it’s too late.

    Peace

    Umar Abdullah

    Head of Waajihatul Islaamiyyah

     

    Letter to Police Service Commission Trinidad - Supt. Maharaj

    May 25th, 2009

    Ambassador Christopher Thomas

    Chairman,

    The Police Service Commission

    Salaamun Alaiyka (Peace Be With You),

    We make reference to the case involving Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore, and Robert Franklyn, all of whom were charged for the murder of Dr. Edward Koury in 2005.

    Attached is a letter dated May 25, 2009 which was sent to the DPP, wherein which we demanded that this matter be expedited before the courts. If not, we insist that the case be discontinued and a fresh investigation be launched - only this time we ask that you use your good office to re-instate the services of retired Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj to head the investigation.

    This has become necessary owing to the mountain of questions arising out of the legal proceedings. Integrity - as we all know - has lost its place in this civilized society of ours and we must support and work with one another to give it back its rightful place.

    Retired Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj is the only individual within the ranks of your class able to investigate this matter with a high level of impartiality.

    As members of the Muslim community who share the concern of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we say to you this is our stance and we warn you not to procrastinate in acceding to our request, as this germinating seed will soon spread its roots to all facets of our society.

    Thank you.

    Peace.

    Umar Abdullah

    Head of Waajihatul Islaamiyyah

       

    Letter To Retired Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj

    Date: May 25th, 2009



    Chandrabhan Maharaj

    Retired Police Superintendent

    Salaamun Alaiyka (Peace Be With You),

    Attached are two letters dated May 25, 2009, sent to both the DPP and The Police Service Commission, in which we made reference to the case involving Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore, and Robert Franklyn, all of whom were charged for the murder of Dr. Edward Koury in 2005.

    In both those letters, we have called for your triumphant return into the Police Service. The facts are all there. Mr. Maharaj, we believe the police service has lost its will to protect and serve; the very foundation of which being respect, dignity and integrity has dissolved in a sea of corruption. We fear the outcome of this new mix, as this may very well be an ingredient to total anarchy.

    We are influencing your return to the Police Service. We hope you see our reason behind this and accept our initiative as a diplomatic attempt to snatch back the scales of justice and fair play in this civil society of ours. Do not procrastinate on this issue, for you would have failed the very purpose of your existence.

    Peace.

    Umar Abdullah

    Head of Waajihatul Islaamiyyah

     

    Letter All International Human Rights Bodies

                                                                                                                             Date: May 25th, 2009

    All International Human Rights Bodies

     

    Re: Trinidad and Tobago; the long delays of matters before the courts, and conditions under which pre-trial prisoners are detained and in particular, the indictment issue of all those charged with the murder of Dr. Edward Koury

    Salaamun Alaiyka (Peace Be With You);

    Prisoners are human beings. In most cases, they are also citizens, “subjects of the Government” and should have the same rights as all other persons before the Court. They have lost their liberty whilst they are in prison. However, as far as we are concerned, they have not lost their human dignity or their right to equality before the law.

    This underlines the point that criminal offenders and alleged criminal offenders alike lose their liberty when they are convicted or arrested, but that in a civilized society as ours, they do not lose their rights as citizens. In other word, the imprisonment is the punishment; or in the case of un-convicted persons, it is detention. Our prisons are meant to be places of rehabilitation and detention houses, not places where extra punishment is added or where rights are denied and oppression is the order of the day.

    Despite this; in this country, the rights of prisoners and those awaiting trial are breached on a daily basis. For example, in the case of those persons arrested, the Prison authority, the judiciary and the government have obstructed and denied some of these individuals the right to a speedy and fair trial. This amounts to "punishment" before conviction. The government is punishing and oppressing these individuals by taking away their rights. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional right of these individuals.

    Other infringements include:

    1.      Unhealthy environments (physically, emotionally and mentally).

    2.      Bland, unwholesome rations that is inadequate for proper health and strength; of very low quality and not well prepared.

    3.      Dirty, non-potable drinking water.

    4.      No access to clean accommodation, with acceptable living conditions and medical care.

    The most important principle in the management of pre-trial prisoners is the fact that they must always be presumed to be innocent. Unlike convicted prisoners, they are not being held in prison as a punishment. The Prison administration must ensure that their un-convicted status is reflected in their treatment and management.

    Persons who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime have a right to be brought before a court. Instead, these persons are detained for long periods of time without being brought to court.

    We see this as corruption, abuse of power and negligence.

    The lives of the families and loved ones of these accused are disrupted and put under tremendous strain. Their stress levels increase greatly by undergoing hardships of all kinds, not to mention having to cope in a brutal society as ours. They would in some cases resort to crime and prostitution or fall vulnerable to the whims and fancy of our society’s rejects.

    We notice also there is certainly not a clear separation of functions between the agencies responsible for criminal behavior; the prosecuting authority and the prison administration.

    The fact that an accused person is detained may assist the investigating authorities in their work, but the conditions of imprisonment should never be an element of the investigation. In other words, it should not be permissible to hold pre-trial prisoners in very restricted conditions simply in order to encourage them to co-operate with investigators or to confess to their guilt.

    The investigating or prosecuting authority should not be able to influence the prison authorities as to how they treat prisoners who are awaiting trial. In the end it is possible that those who are found guilty may serve a much longer period of pre-trial detention than the sentence itself. All of this does contribute to a legitimate sense of grievance, which would affect the behavior of many pre-trial prisoners and this should be kept in mind by the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Administration.

    Another disturbing situation existing within our prison walls can best be described in the following occurrences between 2007 and 2009.

    On May 12th, 2009, approximately 1:15am, Kurlan George was severely beaten by the Prison Emergency Response Unit. Why? Here are the facts:

    On July 17th, 2008, Kurlan George was severely beaten by Prison Officers.

    On July 18th, 2008, a Prison Officer was murdered. It is alleged that this homicide was a direct result of the beating inflicted on Mr. George.

    On July 19th, 2008, Kurlan George was extracted from the general Remand population and placed in the Disassociation Unit known as ‘Guantanamo’, which prison authorities continually deny the existence of. ‘It was for the prisoners’ general safety’, was the reason given for this action. If this is true, why then was he again beaten on the May 12th?

    The Disassociation Unit comprises of Prison Officers from the Emergency Response Unit, which was specially formed to manage and oversee the affairs of those detained in this section. Some of those detained include:

    ·         Fabian La Roach

    ·         Ramzan Bachand

    ·         Bryan Barrington

    ·         Tesper Jones

    ·         Winston Samual

    ·         Kezley Towine

    ·         Anthony Mungroo

    All these men were severely beaten on October 16th, 2007. These men were brought in this section for the very same reason as Kurlan George. It is important to note here that all beatings took place under gun point and whiles these officers were under the influence of alcohol.

    1.      Why are these men placed in this section?

    2.      Was it really for their protection?

    3.      Who are they being protected from?

    4.      Why are these men treated worst than those prisoners on death row?

    5.      Why these men are denied equal treatment as those in remand yard?

    6.      Who is the prison official that ordered and condones this segregation?

    Now that we have open your eyes to the issues, a particular case comes to our attention; the case involving Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore and Robert Franklyn all of whom was charged for the murder of Dr. Edward Koury in 2005.

    To date, no trial date has been set for the accused even though they have gone through the preliminary stages of the enquiry. The presiding Magistrate’s decision to send the matter to the High Court indicates that the State does have evidence to try and prosecute these men. So then, why the wait?

    Why do grown men and women of integrity and status treat with human lives in this manner? Certainly it is not just these men whose futures hang in the balance, but the fates of their families and loved ones as well.

    There is also the issue of the psychological and mental torment of the victims’ families, who need closure.

    If there was the evidence to charge, then produce same to convict! It seems as if these men being used as experimental lab rats, since this is the very first paper committal case to be presented before the courts.

    Another case in relation to the murder of Dr. Edward Koury was the kidnapping of 64-year-old taxi driver Ramsaran Samlal of St. Helena Village, Piarco. It was alleged that these same men (named above, with the exception of Robert Franklyn) had kidnapped and robbed him; and stole his vehicle. These charges were later dismissed consequent of the DPP not wanting to continue the matter. There were major inconsistencies in relation to this matter:

       1. The identity and statements given by a police officer was inconsistent with the identity and statement given by Mr. Samlal.

       2. Mr. Samlal said the four individuals who kidnapped him were dark Negro men unlike the accused who were light skinned.

    So the question remains: if these men did not kidnap the taxi driver, who did? And could it be said that these same men - not yet identified - could be responsible for the death of Mr. Koury?

    With much deliberation and consideration of the facts we have decided on the following:

          1. As of today, considering the present confusion of this matter, we are stating that if the Magistrate believes a prima facie case has been made out against these men; indict these men and allow the matter to go before a Judge and Jury. Give the victims’ families closure. Instead numerous calls to the DPPs’ office go un-acknowledged and answers to questions are not specific and to the point, it is as though the DPPs’ office is more confused than ever; or is it that all accused must be of the “Brad Boyce” variety in order for their cases to be expedited.

       2. If the matter does go before a Judge and Jury, we are demanding that the Judge be of impeccable and unbiased character, with no party affiliations whatsoever; and the jury be of a balanced cross-section of race and religion.

       3. If these men are not indicted soon, we are calling on the DPP to discontinue this matter on the grounds of unlawful detention, and set free all persons charged in this matter as soon as humanly possible so as to allow these men a safe return to their families and loved ones.

       4. After this is done, we are demanding the DPP to re-open the investigation into the murder of Dr. Edward Koury and for the Police Service Commission to re-instate the services of retired Police Superintendent Chandrabhan Maharaj to head the investigation.

    As members of the Muslim community who share the concern of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we have over the past several months been reviewing and looking at the trend of this democracy and the DPPs’ office in dealing with issues like these and others.

    What we have come to understand is that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has been obfuscating the issues and silencing the ones who dare speak out, further separating the people from the truth, behind a growing wall of deception and corruption.

    We are a broken nation, and this type of environment where we constantly live in fear from the rampant crime, economic depression and corruption could very well lead to prison riots and wide spread civil unrest.

    It is with the uncertainty of this very volatile situation that we ask you to intervene and mitigate with us on these and other matters that plague this nation.

    Help us take back this beleaguered country from contempt and corruption.

    Serious steps must be taken to commander this failing democracy, before it’s too late. The alternative to doing nothing is living in this abyss that is Trinidad and Tobago.  

    Salaamun Alaiyka (Peace Be With You)

    Umar Abdullah

    Head of Waajihatul Islaamiyyah

     



     



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