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Detention of Muslims in Venezuela Three Imams released
Colleagues of three T&T-born Imams detained in Venezuela say authorities there gave a release order for the trio last Friday and their families expect them home this week. Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed indicated this yesterday, claiming the trio was expected home imminently. The three are Hamza Mohammed and Sheik Hassan Hamid of the Las Lomas mosque and Abdul Salaam of Marabella Jamaat, Mohammed said. They were among a group of T&T nationals detained in Venezuela on March 19.
The Imams were separate from the group. Fifteen women and children from the group were later released. The Imams were detained under Venezuela’s terrorism act. T&T had appealed a ruling by the Venezuelan authorities that the trio be held without bail. Deadline for hearing was the middle of this month. Families of the Imams hired Venezuelan lawyers in addition to T&T embassy representation.
Yesterday Mohammed said while she didn’t speak to the attorneys herself, she and others here received word from a Caracas-based individual that the Venezuelans made the release order last Friday and that there was no case against the trio. She said they were told some paperwork had to be done for the release, “and it seems that’s taking place. We expected they would have been physically out of the premises by now.”
“But we’ve learned they have to be medically examined which was supposed to have been today (Tuesday) and there are still some documents to be sorted out before they leave. So it seems it’s taking a while.” Mohammed said she’d heard Foreign Affairs Minister Dookeran had spoken about the “release” last weekend. Dookeran didn’t answer calls yesterday. Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall, who was appointed to spearhead efforts on the issue, was unavailable.