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Carapo detainees want Griffith to apologise

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Former Life Sport co-ordinator Rajaee Ali, left, gestures as he responds to questions from the media during a press conference at Regius Chambers on Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Looking on is Ali’s attorney Criston Williams, centre, and brother Hamid. PHOTO: MARY-ANN AUGUSTE

Seventeen men and women held by police on Tuesday at the Jamaat al Muslimeen Carapo mosque have been released without charge. They are now claiming victimisation and are calling on Minister of National Security Gary Griffith to apologise to them. Speaking at the office of their attorney Criston Williams yesterday, former Life Sport co-ordinator Rajaee Ali, 28, and his brother Hamid Ali, 33, both accused Griffith and arms of the National Security Ministry of targeting them merely for their religious belief.

“I believe if he (Griffith) is the person making these calls, these irresponsible calls, then he should come out and apologise. I believe that is what he should do as a grown man, as a man with some kind of power. He should come out and apologise for the irresponsible calls he has been making. There is nothing (illegal) going on in Carapo, there is a mosque that we are trying to build and a community,” Rajaee Ali said.

Both men said they were detained on Tuesday along with 20 other men and two women, whereas police say they arrested 16 men and two women. All except one man was released between Thursday night and yesterday morning without any charges being laid against them and without being told why they were held, except for Hassan Ali who said police told him he was detained on suspicion of kidnapping. 

In response to the demand for an apology, Griffith told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview that he had little regard for the men’s statements. He said Ali had to be joking and did not know the procedure in law enforcement. He said the police were not in the business of profiling anyone. Rajaee Ali said he would be seeking legal redress as it was the second time for the month that he had been arrested, detained and released. 

The men said they were not sure why the mosque had been targeted and they were being further harassed by the police who followed them around, took photographs of them, and arrested and questioned anyone that they did business with. The suspect who remains in custody is being questioned in relation to an illegal gun.

Termination will hurt the youths—Rajaee

The immediate termination of the controversial Life Sport programme, the brainchild of Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, is fair. This is according to one of the former co-ordinators Rajaee Ali, whose name has become embroiled in the allegations of corruption associated with the youth transformation programme.

Speaking at his attorney’s Richmond Street office yesterday, Ali said the announcement made by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday although fair, would have a negative impact on the youths that benefited from a monthly stipend of $1,500. 

“The corruption that we heard that it had in it, if it is true as they say, then probably it is fair but it would be unfair to plenty, plenty youths throughout the country as well to take away the little earning that they were getting. The youths would not know about millions of dollars being taken away,” Ali said. 


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