HEADING HOME: David "Buffy" Millard, from left, Selwyn "Robocop" Alexis and Ashmeed Mohammed moments after they were released from the Eastern Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre at Santa Rosa, Arima, last night. —Photos: CURTIS CHASE

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Freedom for suspected plotters

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

SEVENTEEN men accused of plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister and three senior Government officials returned to the comfort of their own homes last night after spending several days behind bars.

Prison authorities began releasing 16 of the detained men from the Eastern Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Santa Rosa shortly after 7.20 p.m. The 17th suspect, Anton "Boombay" Boney, was released from police custody earlier in the day.

Within ten minutes, they were all freed in batches.

An hour earlier, relatives of the men began arriving at the Centre and remained seated in their idling vehicles awaiting the opening of the gate.

Seconds before their release, shouts of Allah'u Akbar (God is great) echoed from behind the walls of the Centre.

Family members and friends of the detainees gathered within the compound in anticipation, awaiting the reunion with their relatives.

Media photographers and cameramen positioned themselves at strategic locations.

Then the gates opened. First to exit the facility was David "Buffy" Millard.

He spoke with reporters briefly, saying that despite being detained for several days, and wrongfully accused of something he knew nothing of, he was in full praise of the police and prison authorities for the professionalism with which they operated.

"I thank Allah and I thank my family for standing by my side throughout this entire situation," he said.

Asked if he would be filing civil suits against the State, Millard said he would not.

"Of course not. I would not be doing that," he said.

As he spoke, a number of other detainees emerged from behind the gate.

With T-shirts covering their faces, the men attempted to evade media cameras and dashed into waiting vehicles which sped off.

One of them said, "Is mainly Muslims they detained. This looks like religious persecution to me."

Selwyn "Robocop" Alexis, who was the first to be detained and the last to be released, accused certain police officers of plotting against him.

"I know absolutely nothing about this plot the Government is talking about. There are certain people in the Police Service who are trying to bring me down and they know it. And the Prime Minister is going along with it. Only two weeks ago I was released from prison (on a murder charge). They lock me up again for this thing they call a plot to kill the Prime Minister. If there is indeed a plot, I am no way involved in it," he said.

Alexis said he was not opposed to the Government, as he campaigned for them in the last general election.

"Mister Stephen Cadiz said he does not know who I am. I campaigned in his own constituency," said Alexis. He said he intended to take legal action against the State for his wrongful detention.

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