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Families deserve apologies—Muslim leaders

Published: 
Friday, February 16, 2018

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon should apologise to the families of detainees who were released on Wednesday night, says Muslims of T&T public relations officer Imtiaz Mohammed.

He was commenting on the release of Tariq Mohammed and Fawaz Ali, who were among 13 people detained since last Thursday in the ongoing police probe of a plot to disrupt Carnival 2018. By the end of yesterday, five people in all had been released by the police.

After the release of Mohammed and Ali on Wednesday, Mohammed said,”This demands answers on the so-called ‘credible information’ they said they had. As a result the public needs to know the source of that information.

“We’re also concerned the detainees’ families and their characters could be tarnished by this episode, so the release (of the men) demands an apology from the National Security Minister and Government. In fact, the latter owes the Muslim community - all imams, members - an overall apology and the state should compensate families where police exercised brute force in searches and put fear into the hearts of people.”

Islamic Front Leader Umar Abdullah said he believed the two men were released because lawyers began putting legal pressure on the state.

“This situation has also raised concerns about certain tactics allegedly being used by authorities on some detainees. Can the authorities say if the female detainee is allegedly being held until her husband’s brother is found - the sort of tactic we’ve heard Israeli forces use.”

He added, “But she has a four-month-old baby and is breast feeding, so the situation is particularly tough for her.” The Opposition United National Congress intends to file queries on crime, the threat of terrorism and other issues for reply by the Government and the Prime Minister at today’s Parliament session.

Yesterday, Opposition MP Rodney Charles took Government to task on being slow to deal with terrorism issues and returning Islamic State fighters.

Noting Rowley’s recent confirmation that the terror plot threat was real, Charles said, “This Government hasn’t listened to repeated Opposition warnings in and out of Parliament on both T&T’s terrorism threat and our failing war on crime. They only awake from their deep slumber when warnings come from external sources.”

He said the Opposition first brought up the matter of Trinidad’s involvement in global terrorism during the 2016 Budget debate, with further information on other aspects - including T&T families discovered in Iraq - later.

“Dr. Rowley’s standard response was that we were giving T&T a bad name when we raised it in Parliament,” Charles said.

“Government was warned on at least on seven occasions about the terrorism threat, including possible negative consequences of returning terrorists. We advised Canada was monitoring their returnees from the Middle East. Our National Security Minister hasn’t even been able to tell us the number of returning TT terrorists.” 

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