THE MOTHER of labourer Sharaz Ali who was found hanging in a cell of the Couva Magistrates’ Court last Friday is calling for a police investigation into the death of her son.
Shameena Ali, 62, of Orphan Street, Phoenix Park, said there are unanswered questions as to why police did not contact her after he was discovered dead, although she was outside the courthouse at that time.
Ali said: “Everything is strange about this. Something is fishy. Up to now a police officer has not spoken to me to tell me that my son is dead. We found out through the media. We are calling for a full investigation.”
Sharaz Ali, 37, a labourer of the Couva/ Talparo Regional Corporation, of Toolen Drive, Phoenix Park, was also the president of the Phoenix Park Village Council, and a past president of the Parent-Teacher Association of the Government primary school in the area, his relatives said.
He was sentenced by Magistrate Rae Roopchand to serve 12 months in jail for the offence of possession of counterfeit currency. Police said Ali went to a business place in Balmain, Couva, and attempted to make a purchase using the US currency when the proprietor became suspicious and contacted the Couva Police Station. Police found Ali with US $2,300 – all in US$100 bills – which were counterfeit.
Ali said she last saw her son alive at around 11.30 a.m. when he was leaving the courtroom. Ali said she was seated in the courtroom with her son’s wife, and 14-year-old daughter. “He turned and asked me to bring clothes for him. Does that sound like someone who was going to kill himself?” Ali asked.
Ali said in the courtroom her son cried before the magistrate and asked for mercy.
“He pleaded guilty. He said he did it for a purpose, because he was under a lot of financial problems. The magistrate told him the maximum sentence was 14 years in jail. Sharaz kept crying and kept begging and begging. He told the magistrate he would not do it again. I went up to the magistrate and begged and cried. The magistrate said he could not set him free, and that he will still have to go down because the charge was serious,” said the mother.
Ali said after her son was sentenced and left the courtroom, she waited outside the courthouse asking if she could take a meal to him. She was told by the security guards that lunch would be provided for him.
Ali said she and other relatives left the Couva Magistrates’ Court and went to nearby stores and purchased clothes for him.
She said they returned to the courthouse sometime after 1 p.m. According to a police report, Ali was found hanging around 12.45 p.m. The mother said no one came to her and informed her that her son was dead.
“No one told us that Sharaz hanged himself. I kept asking for my son, and where to give him the clothes. Someone told me to go to Golden Grove and drop the clothes there. I went there and the guard told me he cannot accept the clothes because there was no one in the prison there by that name. I was coming back down the highway when I got a phone call that the media told the family that Sharaz was dead,” said Ali. “Something is not right with this.”
Ali said her son also had medical problems, having suffered two heart attacks months ago, and was a diabetic.
Her son’s body was taken to the mortuary of the San Fernando General Hospital.
An autopsy is expected to be performed tomorrow.