Monday, February 19, 2018

Man: I was beaten by masked soldier


PAINFUL: The injuries allegedly inflicted by soldiers on Leon King, 35, shown in photographs given to the Express by his girlfriend.

Mark Fraser


Mark Fraser

In the latest report of soldier brutality, it is alleged that two soldiers, one wearing a mask, severely beat 35-year-old Leon King, resulting in a broken jaw and a possible dislocated vertebrae.

King’s girlfriend Kisha told the Express yesterday at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the father of two went to George Street, Port of Spain to pick up his six-year-old daughter. However, while there she said he was confronted by two soldiers.

“As he reached down and came out of the car, two soldiers approached him. One of them asked him what he was doing there at that hour and he told them he came to pick up his child. The masked soldier tell him he lying and to go lie down on the ground by the staircase. When he start to ask why and telling them he not lying, them just start to beat him with their guns. They hit him and kick him and then just leave him there.

“When he reach hospital now, the doctors told us that his jaw is broken, and that his back has severe tissue damage and possibly a dislocated vertebrae. His eyes are also swollen and he has a lot of cuts all over his body. He’s just warded there right now trying to recover because he is in a lot of pain,” Kisha said.

She said she didn’t understand why the two soldiers beat the 35-year-old father of two “for no reason”.

“Right now the whole community, everybody in uproar over that. He (King) is the type of person who doesn’t give anyone trouble. He doesn’t be in anything criminal or illegal. They just beat him for no reason. They just showing that they quick to victimise poor people. And that cannot be allowed to continue,” Kisha said.

She noted that while at the Port of Spain General Hospital, King had been visited by an investigative team from the Defence Force who took statements. However, she said police officers are yet to visit the injured man, telling relatives that they would rather wait until he was recovered and could give a statement himself. Despite this, the family has sought legal advice and consulted with attorney Varun Dabideen on how best they should proceed in the matter.

\ Attempts to reach Public Affairs Officer for the Regiment, Captain Stefan Affonso, late yesterday afternoon proved futile, however, in a press release on Tuesday afternoon, Affonso stated:

“There are allegations made by members of the public that there have been abuses of power by soldiers. It is critical to emphasise that the Regiment has thoroughly investigated and will continue to investigate all reports of abuse and discipline accordingly in its stand to preserve law and order. The Regiment, as an arm of the Defence Force, stands steadfast to support all arms of law enforcement in the fight against criminal elements in our communities and remains committed to the preservation of law and order and the protection and safety of all citizens.”

Anyone with complaints can contact 800-TIPS or 627-2781 extension 20102.