Four days before the 24th anniversary of the attempted coup, Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr has warned “injustice” against the Muslim community by law enforcement in this country will not be tolerated.
On July 27, 1990, it was Bakr who led 114 members of the Jamaat and attempted a coup d’etat against the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
Forty-two insurgents stormed the Red House and took then prime minister ANR Robinson and most of his cabinet hostage. Twenty-four people were killed.
Over two decades later, the raiding of a Carapo mosque and arrests of people there have angered Bakr.
In a 27-second interview with Win Radio yesterday, Bakr said the unlawful detainment of people, especially in the holy month of Ramadan will not be tolerated, and he warned acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Roger Alexander, head of the North Eastern Division Task Force and host of TV6’s Beyond the Tape programme.
Bakr said, “The question of coming into the mosque in Ramadan and detaining people unlawfully will not, and I repeat will not be accepted. Big man Alexander, if you think you can do whatever you want and you are not accountable to God, Mr Commissioner of Police, Mr Griffith, this is Abu Bakr, I am saying if you continue this transgression against us, we will respond appropriately, end of talk.”
The clip of Bakr’s interview went viral yesterday on Facebook and other social media.
Contacted last night, Williams said he preferred not to comment on Bakr’s comments as he had not heard them. Williams, however, said he had already received two calls from other media houses and also advised them he would only respond after hearing for himself what Bakr’s comments were.
He said he had already contacted his public relations team and once he can gets the information and it is verified, then he will be in a position to say something.
On the arrests at the mosque, Williams said: “I contacted the divisional commander who shared with me that several of those persons had arrests warrants... they were warrants to arrest them for offences which are before the court, so therefore those arrests are clearly lawful arrests.
“There are other persons whom they would have detained in relation to criminal offences that we suspected they would have committed and those arrests are also lawful arrests,” he added.
Williams stressed the law gives the police full authority to arrest people whom they suspect have committed criminal offences.
Williams said, “The law provides, under the Criminal Law Act Chapter 10:04 Section 3, Sub-Section 4, that police officers are authorised to so do where they have reasonable suspicion of persons committing arrestable offences, and that is what they exercised.”
“So what is critical having exercised that authority? The police officers need to be able to investigate, make a clear determination in a timely manner, do I have sufficient evidence to prosecute?; and if they don’t have sufficient evidence to prosecute, then they would have an obligation to release those persons,” he said.
‘Visiting CoP today’
Contacted last night for elaboration on what he meant by “appropriate action”, Bakr told the Express he will not elaborate.
“I said that to Alexander, I said that to the commissioner and I said to the Minister of National Security that if they continue, this is not lawful. You lock up women, they don’t have any opportunity to change their clothes, they leave all their children unattended. What offence have they committed?
“I was in the station up to five o’clock this evening and they have not been charged, they have not committed an offence. All their children have been left out of the mosque,” he said.
Told the Commissioner of Police said the arrests were lawful, Bakr said he intends to visit Williams today on this.
“They have to commit an offence to get arrested. What offence these women have committed when up to this time they have not been charged? What offence did these women commit? Nobody has reported.
“I’ve checked in the station, there is no reward or no report that these women committed an offence from nobody, so what they lock them up and leave all the children unattended for while they praying? They don’t do that to nobody else in their churches.
“I going to see the commissioner tomorrow and I going to see the Minister of National Security and I going to see Alexander since these are the men who are responsible for terrorising our women and our children. I going and see them tomorrow,” said Bakr.