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Relatives of one suspect claim police abuse

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Trinidadian who was detained in Saudi Arabia in August 2015 on grounds that he had links to terrorist organisations, was detained by police yesterday in a raid on his Mohammedville home, but relatives are accusing the police of using brute force which they say was unnecessary.

The man's father told the T&T Guardian that around 3.30 am yesterday there was banging and loud noise on the downstairs door of his home, where one of his sons resides with his wife and children.

He said the officers broke down the door, assaulted his son and started searching the house. The officers, he said, only produced a search warrant almost at the end of the search two hours later. The warrant was in the name of his other son, who lives upstairs with him, and was to allow them to search for arms and ammunition.

The distraught father said the officers were heavily armed and had shields to protect themselves, “but they were dressed in different uniforms.” He said the officers tied the hands of family members and allowed dogs into the house during the search. He said they found nothing but still detained his son.

The son was flagged as being involved in activities linked to terrorism by Special Branch officers and was detained when he returned to Trinidad in 2015. It was subsequently, on his return to Saudi Arabia in that year, that he was detained in that country. He only returned home a year ago and relatives say he was “trying to restart his life, but it had been difficult.”

The father said attorneys for the family had advised them to make a report to the Belmont Police Station, because the officers “did not follow procedure.”

His cousin, who spoke briefly to the T&T Guardian, said “it was a traumatic experience,” adding the people who live in Mohammedville had “helped build the country.”

The man's father accused the police of using “excessive force.

"If they had told us they had a warrant we would have cooperated. And even though they used force we cooperated and helped them. There was no communication before they broke down the door and ask us to lie down and tied our hands. These people came in the house, they read nothing to you but tie your hands behind your back and have dogs walk through. They wake up the babies who were asleep. The babies were crying. It was extremely traumatic.”

The T&T Guardian was told the officers had a “special raid” which targeted homes in Mohammedville, Farouk Avenue and other parts of El Socorro, San Juan. The exercise resulted in the man's son and two other men from the area being detained. In addition to homes, officers also raided two mosques in the area, but nothing was reportedly found.

The man said "instead of targeting innocent people the police should be out looking for the real bandits and killers." Up to last evening the man's son had been transferred from the Riverside Plaza to the Belmont Police Station after he complained of feeling unwell.



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