Sunday, February 18, 2018

...Rajaee Ali among 18 detained


LifeSport coordinator Rajaee Ali is among 18 people detained following a raid on the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Carapo mosque on Tuesday night.

The exercise was supervised by Senior Superintendent David Abraham, who said yesterday 18 people, including two women, were detained for a variety of offences, including an alleged kidnapping of two Latin American tourists four months ago.

“Everyone cooperated and the exercise at that location ended incident-free,” Abraham said.

The Express was told investigators questioned everyone who was at the mosque at the time of the exercise before leaving with the 18 suspects, which included Rajaee Ali, son of the north-west leader of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, Imam Hassan Ali; as well as Rajaee Ali’s brother and one of his wives.

The 18 people were then taken to Arima Police Station before seve­ral were transferred to Arouca Police Station, where they were questioned. The Express understands Special Branch officers also questioned those detained.

Sources told the Express yesterday the 18 suspects were “aggressively questioned” on gang-related activities in the presence of their attorneys throughout the night and into yesterday. The arrested people were said to be from areas such as Laventille, Valencia, Sangre Grande, Carapo, Malabar and Wallerfield, among others.

Relatives of Rajaee Ali yesterday declined to comment on the arrests, saying only that when they were ready they will reach out to the media to respond.

Earlier this month, two of Ali’s brothers were arrested at their home in Malabar, Arima, by members of the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit. Two other men affiliated with the mosque were also detained in Diego Martin. They were later released without charge.

Ali, a former murder accused, was arrested in May days after the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, but was also released without charge. Seetahal was killed on May 4. Police said then he was not a suspect in that killing and Ali has said he did not kill Seetahal.

Tuesday night’s exercise involved several officers of the Northern Division CID and Task Force with assistance from officials from the T&T Defence Force.

The exercise was supervised by Abraham with assistance from Inspector Mark Maharaj, Sgt Pitt Sgt Waldron and Sgt Haywood, among others, and began at 6 p.m. and ended around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Abraham yesterday attempted to dispel reports the officers “raided” the mosque while prayers where in progress, this being the month of Ramadan.

“That is completely untrue. The officers arrived early at the location while prayers were going on, yes. But out of respect for their religious practices, the officers waited until the Ramadan fast and prayer session was completed before they entered the building and began questioning persons inside,” he said.