APNU pushes for judicial inquiry into torture allegations

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Colwyn Harding is alleging that a Police Constable inserted a baton into his anus in November 2013.
Colwyn Harding is alleging that a Police Constable inserted a baton into his anus in November 2013.

[www.inewsguyana.com]Amid new torture allegations levelled against the Guyana Police Force, the main opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – is calling for an independent judicial review into all torture reports over the last seven years.

Leader of the Party, David Granger told reporters during a press conference on Friday (February 8) that the APNU is alarmed at the recurring reports of the crime of torture involving members of the defence and security forces.

According to Granger, the Guyana Government signed and ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment since 1988.

He recalled several confirmed cases of torture reports, for which there was no independent judicial inquiry conducted:

·         Patrick Sumner and Victor Jones were arrested by members of the police and defence forces in September 2007. They were taken to Defence Force headquarters in Camp Ayanganna, Police Force headquarters in Eve Leary then to another military camp where they said they were tortured.

·         Michael Dunn, Sharth Robertson and Alvin Wilson – three defence force soldiers – complained that they had been tortured by being beaten, cuffed, kicked, shocked, struck with metal objects between November and December 2007 in a military camp.

·         David Leander, also called David Zammet and ‘Biscuit,’ was arrested in November 2007. He was so badly injured that he was unable to walk and could hardly speak and had to be hoisted into the Magistrates’ Court to answer charges of attempted murder and possession of narcotics.

·         Twyon Thomas was arrested in October 2007 on suspicion of involvement in the murder of People’s Progressive Party stalwart and former Vice-Chairman of the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region Ramenauth Bisram.  The boy was taken to the La Grange Police station on the West Bank and thence to the Leonora Police Station on the West Coast where he was beaten and burnt.

·         Colwyn Harding was arrested in November 2013. He accused a policeman at the Timehri Police Station of sodomising him with a baton. Harding suffered severe intestinal injuries.

According to the APNU Leader, Guyana, as a signatory to the Convention, is obliged to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

APNU is of the view that there is abundant evidence that the crime of torture has been committed repeatedly in Guyana.

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